More reports on: Mining

Goa to sell stocks of confiscated iron ore through e-auction

25 January 2014

The Goa government is planning to sell about 3.9 million tonnes of iron ore confiscated from the unaccounted stocks of mining companies through on-line auction.

State-owned metal scrap trading firm MSTC Ltd is expected to conduct the e-auction of 3.9 million tonnes iron ore.

Goa's mines department has sought applications from prospective bidders and the first auctions are likely to be conducted in early February, although it has set no time line for the sale of the iron ore stock.

The state government had, in the past few months, confiscated a total of around 3.9 million tonnes of unaccounted iron ore from different places and has placed the details before the court.

This ''illegally extracted'' iron ore quantity would be put up for e-auction first.

This would be the first sale of iron ore in Goa since October 2012 after the state government and the Supreme Court banned mining and the sale of the mineral.

The Supreme Court had, in October last year, allowed e-auction of 11.48 mt of ore inventories with clear ownership.

This auction could take place after the auction of the confiscated 3.9 million tonnes. The state government had proposed auctioning of 15.39 million tonnes of iron ore.

The Supreme Court had, in September 2011, allowed resumption of sale of iron ore in Karnataka through e-auctions for transparent price discovery.

Goa's iron ore is of inferior quality and is exported to steel units in China, Japan and South Korea.

Iron ore exports from the country are expected to increase as Goa prepares to auction unsold stocks.

Besides the 39.1 million of confiscated stock, Goa is also expected to sell another 15 million tonnes from regular stocks.

Buyers will be allowed to ship the ore overseas or sell locally.

However, the proceeds of the e-auction will have to be kept in a special fund until the case (irregular and environment degrading mining in the state) is settled.

Another 6-member panel appointed by the apex court to study the operational metrics, is scheduled to submit its interim report by 15 February 2014.

The committee, among other things, is expected to recommend a cap on production of mines on the basis of evacuation logistics and environment pollution.

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