The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Goa government to e-auction 11.46 million tonnes of iron ore lying idle and appointed a committee to monitor the process.

A Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik, S.S. Nijjar and Ibrahim Kalifulla passed the interim order on a batch of petitions pertaining to mining in the State. The Supreme Court had banned illegal mining in Goa, but the mined minerals were not disposed of, and the government sought a directive for disposal of iron ore.

It sought permission to export the low-grade iron ore mined, and the Bench said successful bidders could export it.

The Bench said e-auction would be supervised by a four-member team. The money so collected from e-auction, excluding sales tax and royalties, would be kept in fixed deposits lease wise till the court decided on the legality of these mines.

The Bench also set up a committee of experts to decide on a long-sustainable cap on mining in the State before it lifted the ban.

The team will comprise an ecologist, a geologist, a mineralogist, a forestry expert, a nominee of the Goa government from the Department of Mines and a nominee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

More In: National | News