Wednesday, October 5, 2011

After Goa's illegal iron ore mining, is gold mining next?

Goa's illegal iron ore mining may have made headlines in recent times
PANAJI: Goa's illegal iron ore mining may have made headlines in recent times, but several prospectors, including Vedanta Resources owned Sesa Goa, over the last two decades, have made a beeline to the state looking for gold.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who is also Goa's mines minister, Wednesday told the state legislative assembly in a written reply that his department had received 19 applications for prospecting precious materials like gold and platinum in areas spread through Goa.

While 11 applications for prospecting gold, platinum and other precious metals from 1994 to 2011 have been withdrawn by the applicants, the state ministry of mines has kept seven cases in abeyance and has granted a personal hearing in one case.

The companies which had applied for prospecting licences for gold, silver and other precious metals are Geomysore Services (India) Pvt Ltd, Goan Mineral Resources Pvt Ltd, Sarmeta Exploration of Pvt Ltd, Sesa Goa and Adi Gold Mining.

Former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) national secretary Jitendra Deshprabhu, recently arrested for illegal mining, had also applied for a gold prospecting licence some years ago.

Opposition as well as ruling legislators have alleged a mega illegal mining scam in Goa, allegedly with the involvement of a politician-bureaucrat and unlawful mining lobby nexus.

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