India’s national government is considering bringing in an ordinance to resume iron ore mining in the western state of Goa.
With mounting pressure from the public over employment and looming national elections in less than a year, it is reported that the government is concerned over the impact of the closure of 88 iron ore mines since 15 March 2018.
Local media has reported that various political parties and constituents of the coalition Goa government have sought the federal government’s intervention in bringing the iron ore mines in the region back in operation.
A group of Ministers, headed by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, are currently seeking legal advice on potential directions to finding a solution to the issue, including the promulgation of an ordinance by the central government to circumvent the Supreme Court order, which maintained that second renewals of mining leases of the 88 iron-ore mines were illegal as the renewals were not done through the auction route, as is mandatory under the Mines, Mineral Development and Regulation Act (MMRDA) 2015.
As a result, the Supreme Court has ordered that all mines cease operations as of 15 March 2018.
At the time of the closures, the Goa government had promised that it would ensure mining operations to resume by the end of this year.
According to reports, the government is likely to promulgate an ordinance to begin the work towards resuming mining operations in the Goa region as soon as legal advice is received from the Attorney General Office.