Indian iron ore miners await Supreme Court verdict on Goa mining ban
Singapore (Platts)--7Dec2012/340 am EST/840 GMT
The Indian Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Friday appeals filed by
some Goa-based iron ore miners and mining associations who have challenged
the findings of an investigating body that resulted in a ban on mining in the
state effective September 11, local sources said.
Leading miner Sesa Goa, the Goa Mining Association, and other
associations representing truck owners, barge owners, and labor unions in the
state, have separately petitioned the court over the past few days.
In their appeals, they have challenged allegations of serious
illegalities and irregularities in the state's mining operations made in a
September report published by the Justice M. B. Shah Commission of Inquiry --
a central government-appointed body investigating illegal mining in India.
"There are many wrong inferences and legally debatable points in the
Shah Commission report," Sesa Goa managing director, P. K. Mukherjee, told
Platts over telephone Thursday.
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Another local miner said the state government had banned mining in
September solely on the basis of the Shah Commission report without giving
miners a chance to present their case. "Our side of the story was not heard,"
"There are also factual inaccuracies in the [commission's] report. [For
instance,] their findings are based on Google Maps data, and the report
itself says its inferences are subject to further verification by scientific
means," he added.
Miners in the state were also waiting for the Supreme Court's Central
Empowered Committee, or CEC, to file its report on mining operations in the
state late Thursday.
In an October 5 hearing, the court had upheld the ban on mining in the
state and asked the CEC to probe the state's mining operations and submit a
report within four weeks.
The initial deadline was missed and the report was due on Thursday,
December 6. But till Friday morning, the report had not been filed, local
While some miners are hoping for a final verdict Friday, others are
doubtful whether that would happen.
A miner in Odisha hoping for a final verdict Friday in favor of the Goan
miners, said it would augur well for miners in other states such as Odisha
where investigations by the Shah Commission are ongoing.
The Goan miner, however, said: "[Court] decisions on matters such as
these could take several weeks or months. It appears to be a long winter
ahead for us."
--Anitha Krishnan, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Haripriya Banerjee, email@example.com