* Chief Minister says mining will probably start some time
* Says Goa could produce 25 mln T/yr of iron ore on
* Ban on mining and exports in place since Sept 2012
(Adds chief minister's quotes)
By Krishna N Das
NEW DELHI, Feb 10 India's Goa state expects to
resume mining before monsoon that starts in June, its chief
minister said on Monday, but this may not mean an immediate
resumption in shipments from what used to be the country's top
iron ore exporter.
A ban on mining and exports in September 2012 to clamp down
on illegal mining in Goa, coupled with a similar step in
neighbouring Karnataka, has slashed output and shipments from
The loss of business for India, once the world's
third-largest iron ore exporter, has helped miners such as Vale
, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
boost sales to China, Japan and South Korea.
"Complete ban for a very long period can be very dangerous,
very economically damaging. Our reputation as a supplier is at
stake," Manohar Parrikar told business leaders at a conference,
adding mining will "probably start some time this season".
Goa's mining season runs from October to May as monsoon
rains allow no activity from June to September. The state's
mines director said in November he did not expect a resumption
in mining before October this year.
India's Supreme Court will resume hearing later this month
an appeal to restart mining in the state. A panel formed by the
court will submit a report on an output limit for Goa by Feb.
Goa could produce 25 million tonnes of iron ore per year on
a "sustainable basis", Parrikar said. Its shipments reached
about 50 million tonnes in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
The minister said he was hopeful that the court would lift
the ban soon given that it has allowed the auction of more than
11 million tonnes of already-mined ore stocked at ports or docks
in the state.
He declined to say whether he expected exports too to begin
this season but said iron ore from the state "cannot be
economically used" in India.
With the Indian Bureau of Mining allowing exploration of
even very low grade ores, he expects Goa's iron ore reserve to
be about 3 billion tonnes, almost triple the current estimates.
That would be good news for Sesa Sterlite, India's
top private miner that has most of its operations in the state.
(Writing by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Muralikumar