Eight companies, including Vedanta Resource-owned Sesa Goa, are vying for licence for prospecting precious metals like gold and platinum in Goa.
State chief minister Digambar Kamat informed the state legislative assembly today that about 19 companies had applied for prospecting licences, but 11 of them have since withdrawn, leaving only eight companies to look for precious material to be mined in Goa.
Companies that have submitted applications before the state mines and geology department include Geo Mysore Services, Goan Mineral Resources Pvt Ltd, Sarmeta Exploration Pvt Ltd, Sesa Goa, Adi Gold Mining among others, as per a written reply tabled in the assembly.
These applications were received over the period from 1994 to 2011, Kamat, who is also Goa's mines minister, said.
Jitendra Deshprabhu, a former national secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who has recently been arrested for illegal mining, had also applied for a gold prospecting licence some years ago.
However, he said the mines ministry is yet to take up the issue and has so far granted a personal hearing only in one case and that the other seven applications have been kept in abeyance.
Meanwhile, the new Mines and Minerals Development Regulation Bill may come as a deterrent to many a mining firm as it seeks to ensure that mining companies share the spoils with local population, more specifically the project-affected people (PAP).
The mining bill proposes that coal miners share 26 per cent of their profits with PAPs while other miners would share a sum equivalent to the royalty payments to authorities.