Pramod Sawant. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Panaji, Dec 4 : Auctioning of Goa's iron ore-laden mining leases was one of the options discussed at a joint meeting on Thursday chaired by Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday.

Sawant said that fast resumption of the mining sector was a priority for both -- the Goa government and the Centre.

The meeting held in the national capital was attended by the state and central government officials linked to regulation of the mining sector and representatives of Goa-based ore exporters.

"We had a meeting of stakeholders in a bid to restart mining in Goa. Our clear cut intent is to start mining. Pralhad Joshi also told us that the central government would also aid Goa in restarting the sector," Sawant said.

"Whether mining is restarted by way of auctioning or not, is also being examined," the CM added.

Mining activity in Goa was banned by the apex court in 2012 following the unearthing of a Rs 35,000 crore scam by a judicial commission appointed by the central government.

It was resumed in 2015 with restrictions, before it was stopped again after the Supreme Court in 2018, found irregularities in renewal of 88 mining leases.

When the mining industry was at its peak, mining extraction, trade and export accounted for 30 per cent of the state's Gross Domestic Product.

Earlier this year, the Goa government had filed a revision petition before the apex court urging it to relook the 2018 order, which the claims has crippled the state's industry.

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