Goa iron ore scam may have a golden lining: Congress spokesman

September 13th, 2012 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Sep 13 (IANS) A Congress leader in Goa has added a fresh twist to the state’s illegal mining saga.

Party spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu Thursday demanded that the central government should examine and assess the over 700 million tonnes of low iron ore dumps for gold and platinum content.

Deshprabhu, who himself was arrested last year for illegal mining, said mining companies operating in Goa for decades have been exporting ore which also had gold component and that the yellow metal was one of the reason why China was hungry for ore from the state.

“It is very pertinent that the Government of India will have to evaluate mineral in dumps not only to ascertain content but also gold, platinum and other important metals in this material. Goa’s ore has traces of gold and platinum,” Deshprabhu told reporters here.

“The miners were actually exporting gold from the country in the guise of iron ore and platinum and other rare minerals to China. China has the technology to recover these precious elements from mountains of ore,” Deshprabhu said.

Mining operations in Goa have been temporarily suspended following the M. V. Shah Commission report on illegal mining.

The Commission has pegged Goa’s mining scam at Rs.35,000 crore and said that a mafia-like nexus among politicians, bureaucrats and the mining lobby was responsible for the scam.

According to records available with the state directorate for mines and geology, 19 mining companies and individuals have applied for licences for prospecting gold.

Interestingly, Deshprabhu’s name figures in the list of applicants.

While 11 applications for prospecting gold, platinum and other precious metals from 1994 to 2011 have been withdrawn, the state mines ministry has kept seven cases in abeyance and granted a personal hearing in one case.

Other firms which have applied for gold prospecting licence are Geomysore Services (India) Pvt Ltd, Goan Mineral Resources Pvt Ltd, Sarmeta Exploration of Pvt Ltd, Sesa Goa, Adi Gold Mining.

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