July 13, 2015 1:05 pm Published by

Green nod for 57 ore mining leases in Goa, but with rider

The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has granted consent-to-operate to 57 iron ore mining leases, with stringent conditions being imposed for controlling and regulating air and water pollution.

Extraction of 13.79 million tonnes of ore per annum will be allowed to the leases under these one-year agreements, subject to approval of mining plans by the Indian Bureau of Mines.

The decision is seen as a major stride in paving the way for resumption of private sector mining in the State in the upcoming season, which had come to a grinding halt for nearly three years after the Supreme Court ordered closure of mining and exports of ore. Subsequently, the apex court relaxed its stance by allowing mining with an annual cap of 20 million tonnes and directing the State and Central agencies to monitor the operations stringently so as not to repeat the massive illegalities and irregularities that had invited the ban following the report of Justice MB Shah on illegal mining in the State.

Air monitoring

Stipulating the conditions, the GSPCB has said with mining leases being in clusters and their buffer zones overlapping, it is recommended that the lease holders carry out Ambient Air Monitoring (AAM) at common locations in the buffer zone, wherever possible, in consultation with the Board.

Chairman of GSPCB Manuel Noronha said the State Mines and Geology department had renewed 89 mining leases, but 20 of them had no valid environmental clearances (ECs). Of the 69 leases having valid ECs, the Board has granted consent to 57.

Water quality

The Board has directed that water quality monitoring of perennial streams, rivers, and springs be carried out at three locations — upstream, downstream and at the point of overflow/release. The Board will carry out water quality monitoring at locations identified during inspections in the months of July, August and September.

In case of those mines having part forest and part non-forest areas and no forest clearance, the consent-to-operate should be limited to the non-forest area. The transportation of ore will be carried out in compliance to the order passed by the Bombay High Court at Goa.


Despite signs of revival, cement demand remains weak

The industry is keeping watch on the progress of the monsoon, with hopes that better rains could push up demand in rural regions.

The demand in June was better compared to the preceding three months, with increase in spending on infrastructure projects by government. However the housing sector remains sluggish, said a cement dealer.

Amit Kumar Singh, Vice President, Choice Broking said there may be a slight revival in cement demand from the second half of the fiscal, but prices may still be under pressure as companies try to ramp up their capacity utilisation. “The price realisation in the northern States may be better than other regions as fresh capacity addition is lower compared to other places. We expect overall capacity to improve marginally by 72 per cent, compared to 71 per cent last fiscal,” he added.

Except for the southern region, cement prices are under pressure across regions as companies try to increase capacity utilisation by pushing in their produce at the slightest sign of demand revival. The capacity utilisation in the southern States has hovered around 40-45 per cent while it ranges between 70-75 per cent across other States, sources said.

Pick up in June

In June, cement prices rose in a few markets due to seasonal uptick in demand from infrastructure projects before the monsoon and supply discipline adhered by companies, said J Radhakrishnan, research analyst at IIFL Capital.

However, he added, the overall recovery in prices was muted compared with the increase in last few years in June as the monsoon was better so far this year.


Exports of soyabean meal decline by 20.41 pc in June

Soyabean meal exports declined by 20.41 per cent in June to 2,098 tonnes as against 2,637 tonnes during the same month of the previous year, the Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA) said in a statement.

Exports of the commodity widely used as a filler and source of protein in animal diets declined by a whopping 60.61 per cent to 34,160 tonnes in the first quarter of the current fiscal, from 86,741 tonnes during the corresponding period of the previous year, the Association said.

During October 2014 to June 2015, exports plunged by 71.54 per cent to 5,83,788 tonnes.


AAI presses for hike in import duty on aluminium & scrap

In order to protect the domestic industry from dumping of the metal, the aluminium industry has urged the Centre to increase the import duty on aluminium metal and scrap.

According to Aluminium Association of India statistics, the aluminium industry has seen a huge surge in imports in recent years from 8.81 lakh tonnes in 2010-11 to 15.63 lakh tonnes in the 2014-15 fiscal, mainly from the Middle East and China.


Govt asks Manipur to defer rice imports from Myanmar

The government has instructed the Manipur government to defer the plan of importing rice from Myanmar after taking into account several mismanagement associated with the public distribution system (PDS) in the past in North-East states, including Manipur, sources said.

 It may be recalled that India had signed an agreement with Myanmar to import one lakh tonnes of rice to avoid supply crisis in Manipur and Mizoram.

 Manipur is planning to transport 10,000 million tonnes of rice from Myanmar in a month, it is learnt.

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This post was written by Atlantic Admin