"We want them to be utilized over a period of time," Parrikar said. "We will request National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to guide us on inter generational equity so that the availability of ore reserves can be spread over a period of 50 to 100 years," Parrikar said in Panaji on Tuesday evening.

Total reserves of ore are estimated to be around 1.3 billion tonnes in the state, part of which cannot be explored as it is locked in the forest areas. The Parrikar-led government has already suggested that there should be capping of iron ore at 45 tonnes annually, of which 25 tonnes should be from the ore rejects piled up across the state.

The state does not favour that mining companies should exhaust the available ore reserves within next 10 to 15 years, he said. The state government has communicated with NEERI to determine and recommend the optimal level of fresh mining that can be undertaken in Goa. The government wants that all the 23 mines which are within one kilometre buffer zone of the wildlife sanctuaries, should be given time of five to ten years to phase out, rather than stopping them immediately, the chief minister said.

"We are waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue but government's opinion is that they should be shut down in a phased manner," he said. Goa currently has 90-odd working mining leases which tap the ore that is exported to countries like China and Japan. The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed by an NGO against illegal mining in the state. Iron ore activity had been halted in the state following an apex court order since September 2012.


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