The State of Mining in Goa
by the Goa Foundation
The Goa’s Foundation’s legal work on mining, stretching 20 years – from 1992 – culminated in a comprehensive Article 32 writ petition filed by it in the Supreme Court of India in 2012. The Foundation based its petition on the findings of the Justice M.B. Shah Commission of Enquiry into Illegal Mining in Goa.
The petition (No.435/2012) led to the Supreme Court passing its famous order of 5th October 2012 disallowing the re-start of any mining activities in Goa and injuncting anyone in the State trading or transporting mineral ores. The order also directed the Central Empowered Committee to examine the various findings of the Justice Shah Commission and make recommendations.
For the first time since mining leases were handed out by the Portuguese in the last century, mining in Goa was brought to an abrupt end, suspending more than a decade of senseless extraction and looting which irreversibly brutalised the natural environment, destroyed the peace of village communities and damaged public health. The statutory authorities, Ministers, MLAs and other public bodies turned a blind eye or participated in the plunder and assault.
The three-judge Green Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik passed an unprecedented judgement on the petition’s pleadings on 21.4.2014. The Court ruled all mining activity post 2007 illegal in the State.
This page documents some of the Foundation’s legal and other work on mining in Goa.
SUPREME COURT PETITION - I
Documents relating to Writ Petition No.435/2012 filed by the Goa Foundation in September 2012 in the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution. The petition was heard finally across three months from September to November 2013 by the Green Bench comprising Justice A.K. Patnaik, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla. Judgement was reserved pending submission of expert committee reports. It was delivered on 21.4.2014.
PIL 435/2012 (PDF)
This is the text of the main writ petition on Goa mining and its perverse environmental impacts, filed incorporating several of the findings of the Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Mining in Goa.
Goa Govt Reply (35MB PDF)
The Goa government filed a detailed response to the main challenges raised in the writ petition.
MoEF Reply 1 (5.5MB PDF)
MOEF Reply 2 (3MB PDF)
The Ministry of Environment & Forests filed two affidavits on the charges set out in the writ petition. The affidavits did not rebut any of the charges raised.
Ministry of Mines Reply
The Ministry of Mines filed a formal counter, denying most of the averments made in the petition.
Rejoinder Goa Foundation 25.2.2013 (PDF)
Goa Govt. Sur Rejoinder
The Goa Foundation, writ petitioner, filed a detailed rejoinder to the counter affidavit of the Goa government. The Goa government filed a sur-rejoinder.
Goa Foundation Additional Affidavit July 2013 • (Annexures)
Goa Foundation Written Submission
Goa Foundation Rejoinder Submission (PDF)
Additional affidavits and written submissions filed by the Goa Foundation in the matter.
Goa Foundation affidavit dated 9.11.2013<
CEC Submissions 31.10.2013 (PDF 6.6MB)
Copy of the written submissions made by the CEC during the hearings.
SHAH COMMISSION REPORT DOCUMENTS
CENTRAL EMPOWERED COMMITTEE DOCUMENTS
Letter of Chief Secretary, Goa, to CEC
The Chief Secretary, Goa government, made a detailed written representation to the Central Empowered Committee.
Report of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) (PDF)
The Central Empowered Committee visited Goa, conducted a public hearing with stakeholders including petitioner and thereafter filed its report with 5 annexures on 7.12.2012 (Annexure 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
CEC Report on Buffer Zones 20.09.2012
CEC Supplementary Report on Buffer Zones 18.1.2013
SUPREME COURT COMMITTEE ON INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY
The “Interim” Report of the 6-member Expert Committee on Intergenerational Equity appointed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the petition.
SUBMISSIONS AND DOCUMENTS RELATING TO ISSUE OF INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY (IE) AND GOA MINERAL ORE EXTRACTION AND SALE
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS (ABOVE):
3. Implementing Intergenerational Equity in Goa (Rahul Basu)
4. Sovereign and Permanent Wealth Fund Rankings
5. Sovereign and Wealth Funds Around the World (PDF 4.91 MB)
6. When should Goa convert iron ore to other assets? (Prof. Pranab Mukhopadhyay)
7. Intergenerational Equity Unachievable without Ban on Iron Ore Exports (Rajendra Kakodkar)
8. Employment and Mining (Goa Foundation)
MOEF Expert Appraisal Committee on Goa Mines
Notification setting up the Vishwanath Anand Expert Appraisal Committee on Environment Clearances issued for mining in Goa.
EAC Decision on ECs for Goa Mines (PDF)
Principal findings of the Vishwanath Anand Expert Appraisal Committee.
Report of the Supreme Court Committee on E-Auctions in Goa PDF
The “Interim” Report of the 3-member Expert Committee on E-Auction of Ore, appointed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the petition
SUPREME COURT’S ORDERS IN WP NO.435/2012
Letter of GF dated 30.4.2014 to Chief Secretary on recovery of value of ore illegally mined from 22.11.2007
Letter of GF dated 11.12.2014 to Chief Secretary on need to recover Rs.65,058 crores of ore illegally mined from 22.11.2007 (with calculations)
Letter of GF dated 14.5.2014 to Chief Minister on Goenchi Mati Permanent Fund
Letter of GF dated 26.5.2014 to Chief Minister on necessity to auction leases in the state.
Second Letter dated 19.6.2014 to Chief Minister on Goenchi Mati Permanent Fund
Letter of GF dated 8.7.2014 to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, sharing with him public interest perspective on mining scenario in Goa
Letter dated 22.7.14 to Chief Minister, sharing detailed calculations on mining in Goa done by Goa Foundation
Letter to Finance Minister, GOI on structure of Goenchi Mati Permanent Fund (9.9.2014)
Complaint to CAG Goa on Inadequate public accounting for mineral wealth in Goa (22.9.2014)
Letter to Goa Govt & CEC on the Goenchi Mati Permanent Fund (29.1.2016)
Representation to Parliamentary Standing Committee on CAMPA, Goa Mining and Environment (6.2.2016)
Letter to DMG Goa on Truck transportation rates (6.3.2016)
Letter to Secretary Mines, Goa on Auction of Quotas on iron ore production under the cap (15.5.2017)
Letter to Secretary Mines, Goa on Implications of Odisha judgment (10.8.2017)
Letter to GSPCB on Implications of Odisha judgment on Sonshi situation (10.8.2017)
Letter to Minister of Mines, UOI on Illegal mining in Goa (18.1.2018)
Letter to Minister of Mines, UOI on District Mineral Foundations in Goa (18.1.2018)
Letter to Chief Secretary, Goa on Recovery proceedings for illegal mining during 2007-12 (6.3.2018)
Complaint to Goa Police on Theft of public property by illegal mining permitted by DMG Goa (12.5.2018)
Letter to Chief Secretary, Goa making Proposal for Change in Goa mining (13.5.2018)
Letter to Chief Minister, Goa on Retrenchment of Chowgule employees (31.7.2018)
Letter to Chief Minister, Goa on Restart of Goa mining (14.2.2019)
Letter to Secretary Mines, Goa on Recovery in illegal mining in 1994 EC cases (15.2.2019)
Letter to FICCI on Goa mining (6.5.2019)
Letter to Chief Secretary, Goa on DMF and GIOPF for COVID relief (7.4.2020)
Complaint to Principal Accountant General, Goa about inadequate public accounting of the shared inheritance of mineral wealth in Goa (14.4.2020)
Letter to Goa governor on Restart of Goa mining (6.5.2020)
Complaint to Principal Accountant General, Goa about inadequate public management of two major trust funds: the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund (GIOPF) and the District Mineral Foundation funds (DMFs) by Goa government authorities (15.6.2020)
Complaint to Prime Minister on Corruption in mining related issues in Goa (19.6.2020)
Letter to DMG Goa on Inventory of already extracted mineral resources in Goa (11.8.2020)
Letter to DGMS on Lack of oversight over Codli beneficiation plant (20.8.2020)
Letter to GCCI, CCI & GSIA on Goa mining (23.10.2020)
Letter to Ministry of Mines, UOI on Policy related to future of mining in Goa (5.12.2020)
Complaint to DMG Goa on Sale and movement of ore excavated prior to 2007 (30.12.2020)
Letter to Secretary Mines, Goa on Taking possession of mining lease areas (1.2.2021)
Complaint to DMG Goa on Illegal mining reports (19.4.2021)
Complaint to Chief Secretary, Goa on dubious e-Auctions of dumps (26.3.2022)
Letter to Chief Minister, Goa on Mining restart (1.7.2022)
Letter to Prime Minister on Mining restart in Goa (5.7.2022)
Letter to DMG Goa on Proposed auctions of mineral blocks (9.8.2022)
Letter to Chief Secretary, Goa on Export duty implications on Goa mining (16.10.2022)
Letter to Minister of Mines, UOI on Mining restart in Goa (16.10.2022)
SUPREME COURT PETITION - II
No sooner did the ink dry on the Supreme Court’s judgement dated 21.4.2014, within days, 28 mining lease holders moved a writ petition before the Bombay High Court, at Goa, demanding orders for second renewals of their leases on specious grounds (payment of stamp duty). Amazingly, the High Court agreed to their plea. It directed the Goa government to renew the mining leases. The Goa Foundation had not been made a party in the writ petitions before the High Court. Nevertheless, since the Government of Goa, always in collusion with miners, refused to appeal the High Court’s order, the Goa Foundation filed an appeal against it in the Supreme Court in October 2014 (SLP No.32138/2015)
Before the SLP could be taken up in the Supreme Court, the Goa government – from November 2014 till 12 January 2015 – issued 88 orders granting second renewal to mining leases in the state, disregarding the explicit directions of the Supreme Court issued on 21.4.2014. These 88 lease renewals were challenged by the Goa Foundation in September 2015 in the Supreme Court of India through Writ Petition No.711/2015 under Article 32 of the Constitution.Both the appeal and the writ petition were heard finally across two months from October to November 2017 by the Green Bench comprising Justice MadanLokur and Justice Deepak Gupta. Judgement was delivered on 07.2.2018. The Supreme Court cancelled all the 88 orders granting second renewal. They also set aside the Bombay High Court order of 13.8.2014. The documents in this section relate to the appeal and the writ petition challenging the grant of second renewal.
1. WRIT PETITION 293/2014 (PDF)& 27 OTHER PETITIONS
This is the text of the writ petition filed by M/s Sesa Sterlite in the Bombay High Court pleading their leases should be renewed on the grounds that they have paid stamp duty as requested by the Goa Government (promissory estoppel). 27 other petitions along similar lines were also filed including WP No.210/2014 (Lithoferro)
BOMBAY HIGH COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN WP NO.210/2014
3. Bombay High Court Judgement – WP 210 of 2014 – (13.08.2014) (PDF)
4. APPEAL (SLP) 32138/2015 (PDF)
This is the text of the appeal filed by the Goa Foundation against the judgement of the Bombay High Court dated 13.8.2014 that had ordered the Government of Goa to grant second renewal of mining leases to 28 former lease-holders.
5) WRIT PETITION 711/2015 (PDF)
This is the text of the writ petition filed by the Goa Foundation challenging the orders
passed by the Goa government granting second renewal of mining leases to 88 former
6) Goa Govt Reply (PDF)
The Goa government filed a detailed response to the main challenges raised in the
appeal and the writ petition.
SUPREME COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN SLP NO.32138 AND WP NO.711/2015
7. Supreme Court Judgement – SLP 32138 and WP 711/2015 – (07.02.2018) (PDF)
GOA MINING SUPREME COURT- III
The Supreme Court in its judgement dated 7.2.2018 in Writ Petition No.711/2018 had granted time till March 15, 2018 for closure of all mining operations in Goa. However, since miners began to manipulate circumstances and commenced transport of ore after March 15, 2018, the Goa Foundation moved the Bombay High Court at Goa with a PIL challenging such movement and insisting for a Court declaration that all ores in the State of Goa post 15.3.2018 belonged to the Government and people of the State. The High Court agreed with the Goa Foundation. Miners and traders went in appeal. Those appeals were decided by the Supreme Court by its orders dated 30.1.2020 and 13.10.2021. The documents in this segment relate to these matters.
MINING TRANSPORT PETITION DOCUMENTS
This is the text of the writ petition filed by the Goa Foundation challenging transport of mineral orders in the State of Goa after March 15, 2018.
2.Goa Govt Reply (PDF), Annexures
BOMBAY HIGH COURT'S JUDGMENT IN PIL WP 3/2018
4. Bombay High Court Judgement – WP 3 of 2018(04.05.2018)
5. CIVIL APPEAL BY CHOWGULE 839/2020 (PDF)
This is the text of the appeal filed by the Chowgules against the Bombay High Court judgement dated 04.05.2018.
6. Goa Foundation Counter Affidavit (PDF)
This is the text of the counter affidavit filed by the Goa Foundation challenging the Chowgule Civil Appeal.
The Goa government filed a detailed response to the main challenges raised in the appeal and the writ petition.
SUPREME COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN CA 839/2020
GOA MINING IN SUPREME COURT- IV
The Goa government moved a set of review petitions against the Supreme Court’s judgment dated 7.2.2018 (Goa Foundation II, Justices Lokur and Gupta). The review petitions were filed by the Goa government on 20.11.2019. Similarly Vedanta filed a batch of review petitions against the same judgment in 2020. The Supreme Court dismissed all the review petitions by passing a brief order dated 7.9.2021.
After all legal avenues for recovery of their leases had dried up, Vedanta Ltd moved a fresh writ petition No.1005/2019 before the Bombay High Court in November 2019, demanding a declaration that its mining lease, as per the provisions of the amended MMDR Act 2015, was valid for 50 years. It also attempted to persuade the High Court that the Goa Abolition Act of 1987 commenced from 23.5.1987 and not from 20.12.1961 (which is the appointed day given in the Act itself). The High Court threw out the petition in one week. Vedanta Ltd moved the Supreme Court in appeal (SLP No.29211/2019). In both instances, Vedanta did not make the Goa Foundation a party respondent, though it was seeking to bypass directions given by the Supreme Court in Goa Foundation I and Goa Foundation II judgements. The Supreme Court, faced with an application filed by the Goa Foundation for impleadment, passed an order allowing the Foundation as a respondent.
The Supreme Court dismissed Vedanta’s appeal on 7.9.2021.
Documents in this section deal with these matters.
1. WRIT PETITION 1005/2019 (PDF)
This is the text of the writ petition filed by Vedanta Ltd before the Bombay High Court at Goa, demanding their lease is valid for 50 years.○
BOMBAY HIGH COURT’S ORDER IN WP NO.1005/2019
2. Bombay High Court Judgement – 1005/2019 (26.11.2019) (PDF)
3. APPEAL BY VEDANTA LTD 29211/2020 (PDF)
This is the text of the appeal filed by Vedanta Ltd against the Bombay High Court judgement dated 26.11.2019.
4. COUNTER OF GOA FOUNDATION (48 MB), ANNEXURES (108 MB)
This is the text of the counter affidavit filed by the Goa Foundation against the Vedanta Ltd appeal.
The Goa government filed a brief response supporting Vedanta Ltd.
6. Supreme Court order rejecting the review petitions filed by the Goa Government and Vedanta against Goa Foundation II (judgment dated 7.2.2018 passed by Justice Lokur and Gupta)
7. Supreme Court order rejecting the appeal filed by Vedanta against the order of the Bombay High Court at Goa dated 26.11.2019.
Goa Mining V
On 4.5.2022, the Goa government, goaded by a fresh writ petition filed by the Goa Foundation which demanded the takeover of all leased areas (as the terms of all mining leases had ended), issued an order to 88 leaseholders asking them to surrender these areas under the provisions of Rule 12(1)(hh) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 2016.
A huge number of writ petitions were filed in the Bombay High Court, challenging the order. This time, both the Goa Government and the Goa Foundation presented mutually supportive arguments to defeat the petitions. On 7.10.2022, the Bombay High Court dismissed all the petitions.
The first couple of appeals against the judgment (7.10.2022) were rejected by the Supreme Court of India by a brief order on 21.11.2022, thus bringing the final curtain down on the century old privately controlled mining industry, initiated under the Portuguese colonial mining law. The documents in this section deal with this final aspect of the legal battle. After these judgments, the Goa government commenced the process of auctioning of mineral blocks in November 2022.
Text of GF PIL for a writ of mandamus to the Goa government to take over all mining lease areas in the state of Goa, as the validity period of all these has finally expired.
Order of the Goa Govt dated 4.5.2022 under Rule 12(1)(hh) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 2016, directing for handover of leased areas.
Copy of Writ Petition filed by Lithoferro (lead petition) challenging the order dated 4.5.2022.
Judgment of the Bombay High Court at Goa delivered on 7.10.2022 dismissing the Writ Petition along with several others.
Order of the Supreme Court of India dated 21.11.2022 dismissing appeals against the judgment dated 7.10.2022.
Goa Mining VI Lokayukta
Immediately after the Supreme Court cancelled the grant of second renewal to 88 mining leases, the Goa Foundation took a decision to file a corruption complaint against the three government officials responsible for granting them. These included the then Chief Minister, Laxmikant Parsenkar, Pawan Kumar Sains, Secretary (Mines) and Mr Prasanna Acharya, Director of Mines & Geology. After a year of investigations, the Hon’ble Lokayuktha admitted the complaint, and filed a detailed report to the Goa government. The report recommended registration of an FIR and investigation by the CBI, and removal of the officers concerned as they were persons “unfit to hold public office.”
About the book
This new book on the historic Goa mining case is written by Claude Alvares and Rahul Basu. It chronicles the amazing story of how a small, publicly funded environmental monitoring group called the Goa Foundation successfully fought a ten year battle to bring Goa’s entire privately held mining industry to account. The Foundation’s legal initiatives and petitions led to the closure of the nearly 100-year old mining industry. Except for a brief 2 year interlude, mining in Goa has remained shut for more than ten years. At the time of closure, more than half of India’s mineral ore exports originated from Goa – India’s smallest state.
The Goa mining case led to three consecutive judgments of the Supreme Court, with the Court each time refusing any concessions to former lease holders. These judgments also led to wide-ranging changes in mining laws and regulations, including the requirement that all future alienation of minerals would only be done through the process of public auction, thus generating maximum revenues to public exchequers.
The case also heralded the beginnings of the first judicially instigated Permanent Fund for the State of Goa which would receive monies from every sale invoice dealing with minerals and sequester them for the benefit and use of future generations of Goans.
The Supreme Court of India and Intergenerational Equity will be useful to all persons – especially social activists – keenly interested in regulation of the extractives industry, issues of ownership of natural resources, the manner of their alienation, and the apex court’s cumulative and consistent judgments furthering the implementation of the principle of intergenerational equity. The book contains a day-to-day record of the court proceedings, arguments on behalf of the Goa Foundation led by Prashant Bhushan, the counter arguments of more than a dozen legal luminaries from Rohtagi to K.K. Venugopal. The authors have also included the full text of the unprecedented judgment that declared five years of mining illegal as it was carried out with a valid lease. A final section gathers together current legal thinking surrounding alienation of natural resources, the need for permanent funds to protect the interests of coming generations, and the Supreme Court’s various judgments on intergenerational equity and the doctrine of Public Trust.
Order the book online from: https://www.banyantreebookstore.com/. You can also find it at Broadway Book Centre, and Varsha Book Stall, Panaji and Dogears Bookstore in Margao.
Goa: Sweet Land of Mine is a severe critique in colour of the deadly damage being caused by iron ore mining companies to Goa’s forests, wildlife, biodiversity and the ecologically sensitive region of the Western Ghats – one of the plant’s twelve most important ecological hotspots. The occasion for the book is the recent spate of ‘environment clearances’ granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for such mining leases in Goa. More than 70 such clearances have been issued to more than 70 mining leases without site inspections or listening to villagers affected by mining operations. Iron ore mining is a major threat to Goa’s very existence. Get the book and see how you can help if you are one of those who love Goa and do not want it to die.