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Mining resumes in Goa after 6 yrs; Vedanta begins operations at Bicholim block

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New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) Mining in Goa resumed after a gap of six years, with mining major Vedanta commencing operations on Thursday at Bicholim mineral block in the state.

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Bicholim Mineral Block is the first auctioned mine to become operational since 2018 when the Supreme Court imposed a blanket ban on mining in the coastal state, the company said.

The mining in Goa came to a grinding halt in March 2018 after the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases.

"Heralding a new era of inclusive development, Vedanta Sesa Goa commenced mining operations at Bicholim Mineral Block- Block 1 in the state of Goa," the company said in a statement.

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Vedanta Limited had in 2022 emerged as a successful bidder for the mining block which was auctioned.

Vedanta was the highest bidder with 63.55 per cent revenue for Bicholim Mining Block, spread over 485 hectares.

"Vedanta Sesa Goa's commencement of its operations in Goa's Bicholim Mineral Block signifies a new chapter of collaboration between Vedanta and the state of Goa, reinforcing a shared vision for progress and prosperity for the state of Goa.

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"Bicholim Mineral Block is the first auctioned mine in the state to become operational and heralds a new era of larger revenue share with the government for development of the state and welfare of local communities," the company said.

This significant milestone, the company said, marks a pivotal moment for both the local community and the economy of Goa, ushering in prospects of employment, growth, development, and prosperity.

"Commencement of iron ore mining at Bicholim is a very significant development and opens new & additional vistas for the progress and socio-economic development of the people of Goa. We reaffirm our firm commitment to upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship," Navin Jaju, CEO, Sesa Goa-Vedanta Ltd, said.

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Mining in Goa has historically contributed up to 20 per cent to the state's gross domestic product.

Operationalisation of the auctioned mines in the state will contribute significantly to state GDP, as revenues will accrue to the state through auction premiums, royalties, and contributions to the District Mineral Foundation paid by the lessees.

"We are well prepared to initiate & sustain safe & responsible mining operations & will be relying on increasingly modern & advanced technologies to operate the mines in a sustainable manner," said Krishna Reddy, COO-Mining, Sesa Goa, Vedanta Ltd.

Last year, Vedanta also bagged the Cudnem mineral block in Goa through an auction.

The company further said mining operations will catalyse the generation of direct and indirect employment opportunities, stimulate the business environment, and benefit various stakeholders, including communities, small businesses, truckers, barge owners, allied services and contractual workers from Goa, among others. PTI SID HVA CS BAL

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