The Goa government has told the Supreme Court that 3.9 million metric tonnes iron ore out of the total 15 MMT lying in the State has been found without proper documentation, raising suspicion that it might have been extracted illegally.

State Mines Secretary Pawan Kumar Sain, in an affidavit filed in the apex court in response to a case filed by NGO Goa Foundation in illegal mining matter, has said that 1.22 MMT ore was found without any disclosure in the monthly or yearly returns (of the mining companies).

In addition to this, the affidavit mentions that approximately 2.68 million metric tonne of iron ore has also been found lying at different places.

“This ore, subject to further verification, has also not been reflected in the returns of any the traders. This is found in the mining leases and on different plots,” he said.

The traders have been given 30 days time to prove their bonafide and to justify their possession of ore as having been purchased from the mining lessee through a duly extracted ore, the affidavit said.

If this iron ore is not found to be satisfactorily owned by the trader, the state Directorate of Mines and Geology will attach it, the affidavit said.

Goa government, in its earlier submission before the apex court, had claimed that 11.56 MMT of accounted ore has been lying at various jetties and mining sites ready to be exported.

The freshly extracted ore was halted on its way to the shipping after the Supreme Court had ordered a temporary ban on the fresh extraction and export of ore last year.