Mining News Pro - India’s Law Ministry has opined that the government should not resort to legislative changes to bring closed iron-ore mines back into operation in the western coastal state of Goa.

According to Mining News Pro -The Law Ministry in a communication to counterparts in the Mines Ministry said that there was no “legislative cure” for the resumption of operations at about 88 iron-ore mines in Goa closed down by order of the Supreme Court in February this year, on grounds that the mine lease renewals by the Goa government were in violation of the Mines, Minerals Development and Regulation Act (MMDRA) 2015, which made the auction route mandatory for allocation of mining leases.

Instead, the Law Ministry has advised that the government should approach the apex court seeking a review of its earlier order closing down the mines.

It was reported by Mining Weekly Online that the federal government, at behest of the Goa government, was considering bringing in an ordinance to amend the MMDRA so that lease renewals by the latter without auction were made permissible under law with retrospective effect.

According to the Law Ministry, seeking advice from the Attorney General - the government’s highest law officer - was needless as any legislative changes would still be considered to be a violation of Section 8 of MMDRA if so challenged before the courts.

With legislative changes to bring Goa iron-ore mines back into operation seemingly being ruled out, this would put further pressures on the local government as its promise of the resumption of mining activities by December would not bear fruit, resulting in concomitant political fall-out with Indian national elections scheduled next year.

Already, MGP, a political party constituent in Goa’s coalition government has threatened to pull out of the government unless the government, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ensures that mines are brought back into operations by December 15, 2018 and more so since BJP too also in power in the federal government.

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