This information was conveyed to the companies which are set to participate in the auction of mining leases.
The state government has put up four mining blocks for auction, of which three are in North and one in South Goa, and over 24 companies have shown interest in participating in the auctioning. An observer said that given the DMG’s stance on the Abolition Act matter, it would be interesting to see how many participate.
Mining companies raised queries at a pre-bid meeting, which include the status of the interlocutory application filed by the Union government. They said that till the legal issues pertaining to the rights accruing to the mine concession holders under the Portuguese colonial mining law, which were converted into mining leases by the Abolition Act, are not decided, the title of the mines will not get clear.
“Whether if a third party gets a mining lease amongst these concessions pending for adjudication before the Supreme Court, whether their title would be subject to the outcome of the judgment/order of the SC in the Abolition Act matters,” was another query.
Mining companies also asked what would be the stand of the state in case the SC upholds the rights of the erstwhile concessionaires to be valid, and whether the state has made any provisions to compensate either the existing concessionaires or new mining lessees.
Replying to the above queries, the DMG said, “Bidders are to conduct their own diligence. Treatment of the mineral concessions shall be subject to applicable law and judgments of the court”.
The four mineral blocks were operational before mining came to a halt. Most of these leases cover vast areas. Hitherto, the mines in Sirigao and Mayem were operated by Chowgules, in Sirigao by Rajaram Bandekar (Sirigao) Mines Pvt Ltd and in Bicholim by Vedanta Ltd. As per the directorate of mines and geology records, the lease for the Kalay mine was earlier in the name of N S Narvekar.
This is the first time that the state government is auctioning mining leases to carry out mining activities in the state. The state government has revised the timeline for the auctioning process.
Major steel and iron ore mining companies from outside Goa have shown interest in operating mines in the state. Mining in Goa has come to halt in March 2018 after the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of 88 leases.