Sesa Goa, a Vedanta Group company, already seeing erosion in profits due to a mining ban in Karnataka, is facing fresh trouble in Goa, with a stop-mining order on a petition from locals.
A sub-divisional magistrate (Bicholim) has directed immediate stopping of work at its Phase-III mines in Advalpal village (north Goa). Phase-I and -II mining operations in the area were stopped earlier. Sesa Goa sources 15 mt of ore from Goa annually. From Phase-III, it gets 200,000 tonnes of ore.
A Sesa Goa spokesperson declined to comment, saying the matter was in court. Goa Foundation, a non-government organisation, and the villagers had filed a complaint before the district administration at overflow of mining dumps into the drain passing through Advalpal village. The complaint was at Sesa Goa and another company, Lithoferro. The SDM has asked both companies to stop operations. Lithoferro has been told to pay the cost of rehabilitating the drain.
The case had gone to court in 2006 and the first notice to the companies was issued the same year. Subsequent notices asked for detailed technical reports. For the past three years, only Phase-III of the Sesa Goa project was allowed to operate.
While announcing its quarterly numbers, Sesa Goa said closure of operations in Karnataka due to the mining ban imposed by the Supreme Court last year had led to a decline of 27 per cent in iron ore production in 2011-12. It reported a decline of 36 per cent in consolidated net profit to Rs 2,695 crore for the year.
It said it had submitted rehabilitation & resettlement plan for its mine in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district and expected mining operations in the state to begin soon.