The Goa Mines and Geology Department will hold its third e-auction of iron ore on May 12, wherein six lakh tonnes of ore, lying at jetties and the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) would be e-auctioned.

The State, through MSTC Ltd., has auctioned 1.62 million tonnes of iron ore through two e-auctions in February and March, realising around Rs.260 crore, which would go to the State treasury.

These e-auctions are held under the supervision of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee, headed by U. V. Singh. “Before commencement of monsoon, we have to transport the e-auctioned ore,” Prasanna Acharya, Director of Mines and Geology, told The Hindu on Monday.

The Supreme Court, partially relaxing its October 5 ban on iron ore activities in the State, in December last had permitted the Goa Mines Department to auction about 15 million tonnes of iron ore lying at jetties, mining leases, plots, beneficiary plants and port, all under the supervision of its committee.

However, on April 21, the apex court lifted its ban on mining activities, but putting a cap of 20 million tonnes for annual production and ruling that since the renewal of all the deemed mining leases in the State had expired on November, 2007, and the operations carried out, thereafter, have been termed illegal, the mining lessees will not be entitled to the sale value of the ore sold in e-auction but to the approximate cost (not actual cost) of the extraction of the ore.

Making government the custodian of the money collected through e-auction, the court directed the State to pay 50 per cent of wages of all the workers who were laid off or were not paid salaries since the time the mining operations were suspended.