Goa CM Pramod Sawant. (File photo)
Goa CM Pramod Sawant. (File photo)

Goa govt signs MoU with Mineral Corp to take stock of iron ore

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who is currently on a two-day visit to New Delhi, oversaw the signing of the agreement along with Union minister of coal and mines Pralhad Joshi
By Gerard de Souza
PUBLISHED ON JUL 20, 2021 09:08 AM IST

The Goa government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL), a Union government-owned public sector undertaking, to build an inventory of Goa’s minerals -- mainly iron ore.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who is currently on a two-day visit to New Delhi, oversaw the signing of the agreement along with Union minister of coal and mines Pralhad Joshi on Monday.

The MoU will help the government assess its mineral resources and establish its mineral inventory. The MoU is seen as a step towards the government restarting mining through its own state-run corporation after the Supreme Court ruled that if mining is to restart, fresh leases will have to be allotted, which now involves an auction.

In March this year, while presenting the state budget, Sawant announced that the state government would set up its own mining corporation in a bid to break the logjam that has resulted in shuttering of state’s mining industry since 2018.

The inventory would also help the Goa government explore the possibility of opening fresh leases and having them auctioned in a bid to bypass the legacy leases that are stuck in a legal quagmire.

Goa’s several mining related cases are pending before the Supreme Court, most notably a plea challenging the Central government’s Mines and Minerals Development Act converting Goa’s mining concessions granted by the Portuguese into leases as well as a plea to retrospectively grant 50-year validity to mining leases till 2037, which the mining companies claim they are eligible for.

Meanwhile, during his Delhi visit Sawant also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and invited him to inaugurate the historic Aguada Fort that has been beautified under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

He also met home minister Amit Shah, Union minister of tribal affairs Arjun Munda, minister for environment, forest and climate change Bhupendra Yadav, and Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister of information technology among others.

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