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The State of Mining in Goa

by the Goa Foundation

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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. 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

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.

Petition documents

Shah Commission Report documents

Central Empowered Committee documents

Other Reports

Post judgement

The Supreme Court has decided not to dispose of the matters relating to WP No.435/2012 since the expert committee reports were “interim” in nature. It has therefore extended the tenure of the Expert Committee on Intergenerational Equity for a full year. It has also extended the tenure of the Expert Committee tasked with e-auction of ore stacks on or off Goa leases for a further period of six months. After the reports are filed, the matter will be listed for further orders.

In the meanwhile, the Goa Foundation has been assisting the authorities with the required information on several issues arising from the judgement. The Goa Foundation has also submitted documents on the value of illegal mining and on the Goenchi Mati Permanent Fund. These documents – and more, as they are prepared and submitted – will be posted in this section.

For more updates on the matter, follow Goa Foundation on Facebook.

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.

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