Indian state of Goa forced to halt all mines

India’s Supreme Court order the state of Goa to halted all mining activities in Goa, including transportation of already mined manganese and iron ore, and sought responses of the union and state governments on an environmental group's petition.

According to CNN-IBNLive, the mandate followed a hearing on a public-interest litigation (PIL) filed against resumption of mining operations in the state. Earlier this year, the Directorate of Mines and Geology had temporarily suspended all mining operations in Goa until October.

The court has also requested Goa to produce a report into illegal mining in the state in four weeks, which could further delay reopening of mining activities in India's second-biggest iron ore producing state.

Despite being the world’s third exporter of iron ore, India’s sector has not taken off as much as it could as iron ore producers have been rocked by illegal mining accusations.

A ban on iron ore mining was imposed in the southern state of Karnataka last year, while in Goa many licences have been cancelled.

In June a scathing report by Human Rights Watch deemed India's 2,600 mines "out of control" and pointed out "pervasive lawlessness in India’s scandal-ridden mining industry" and the collapse in enforcement of laws to protect local communities.

India's iron ore exports, headed largely to China, have already decreased because of government taxes aimed at keeping production for the domestic steel industry and cutting illegal mining.

Image: Labourers transport coke to a local distribution point outside an illegal mine in India. Photo by Tom Pietrasik. 

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