Decision Deferred on Vedanta’s Iron Ore Mining Proposal in Goa
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change has postponed its decision regarding Vedanta Limited’s proposal to resume iron ore mining at the Bicholim mineral block in Goa. The EAC raised concerns about potential environmental and legal issues, directing the project proponent to provide clarifications and conduct further assessments.
- Vedanta Limited won the bid for the Bicholim Mineral Block-Block 1, spanning over several villages in North Goa’s Bicholim Taluka.
- The proposed production capacity of the mine is 3 million tonnes per annum (MPTA).
- Iron ore mining in Goa had been halted since 2018, with plans to restart operations by November 2023.
- The EAC requested clarification from the Goa government’s Directorate of Mines and Geology regarding any illegal mining within the lease area and Vedanta Limited’s involvement.
- There is ambiguity about forest land within the lease area, with conflicting information from the project proponent.
- Concerns were raised about pollution potential, waste handling, backfilling plans, and settling pond designs.
- The committee highlighted the need to assess the ground reality, waste handling, transportation routes, and traffic congestion.
- A public hearing for environmental clearance received 4,708 written objections and 5,183 letters of support.
- The EAC requested a video recording of the public meeting.
- A sub-committee comprising EAC members and ministry officers is recommended to conduct a site visit.
- Vedanta Sesa Goa emphasized its commitment to adhering to regulations and resuming mining responsibly and transparently.
- The clarifications sought by the EAC are considered part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process.
Category: India Nation & States Current Affairs