Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that eight iron ore mining blocks would be auctioned by December 15 this year.
“The Cabinet has given approval to the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) for assessment of mineral ore and its auction. The government will auction eight mining blocks in the State,” Sawant said at a post Cabinet press conference.
The CM informed that MECL, which is a central public sector enterprise, was appointed for exploration of the mining leases in the State.
“The MECL has already started exploration of mining leases to find out which blocks will be selected,” he said.
The auctioning of the mineral blocks will be carried out by the Goa Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) along with the State Bank of India.
“It is almost finalised. The auctioning of eight mining blocks will be completed before December 15. Auction will be carried out through the GMDC but we will also take SBI on board,” Sawant said.
Mining operations were shut down in the State after the Supreme Court scrapped renewal of 88 mining leases on account of irregularities.
The mining corporation was formed by the government earlier this year with an attempt to expedite mining operations in the State.
The corporation is empowered to obtain mining leases/grants, grant prospecting licenses etc, under the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act, 1957 and carry out all mining operations.
The decision to auction the mining blocks comes at a time when the BJP-led government in the State has been facing the heat from the opposition for the delay in restarting the mining industry.
Secondly, its impact on the State assembly elections which are scheduled to be held in February 2022 must be weighing heavily on BJP leadership.