Panaji:Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association, the body representing the mine owners in Goa, on Friday said the closure of the mining leases in the coastal state will bring about an “economic and social disaster”.
The Goa government put a complete halt on iron ore mining in the state from Friday, after the Supreme Court last month quashed the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in Goa in 2015.
The apex court had given time till March 15 to mining lease holders to manage their affairs.
The people dependent on this industry are in the panic mode as there is no clarity over their future.
“This is an economic and social disaster,” GMOEA president Ambar Timblo told the news agency in an interview on Friday.
“The industry has faced many challenges in the past 70 years; be it sovereign, economic, political and so on. We have an obligation to our history and our stake stakeholders (now in the third generation across Goa) to persevere, and we will,” he added.
Timblo, who is also the managing director of Fomento Resources, one of the oldest mining firm, said that such a situation was not anticipated.
“After the hearing in the Supreme Court (lifting the mining ban in 2014) and after ensuring that all the compliances were in place, this situation was unforeseen and a huge blow to everyone,” he said.
According to Timblo, the mining ban will take an immediate toll on the truck operators.
“The truck owners will have no operations from today; and at mines all operations have stopped. So a huge economic setback immediately,” he said.
“The impact on unemployment will gradually start taking a toll, especially in the event of missing clarity on the road forward,” he added.
When asked whether the Goa government wrongly handled the mining issue before the apex court, Timblo said “I do not believe any person, either in the government or in the opposition, expected this situation.”
“I believe the shock and impact of it is still affecting all. Goa had compliance (of the SC directives) higher and superior to any other state in India, still we are in this depressed situation,” he added.