Panaji, Sep 18 (IANS): Even as the shockwaves of an estimated Rs.35,000-crore illegal mining scam continue to rock Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has claimed that the state "occupies a position of pride in the iron ore mining sector" in the country.
Parrikar, in his message uploaded on the state mines and geology department website Monday, also said that production in Goa is around 20 million tonnes presently.
"Though Goa is a very small in area and can be compared to one district of other states it occupies a position of pride in the iron ore mining sector," said Parrikar, who is also mines minister, calling mining the "most important economic activity" in Goa.
Parrikar has also said that iron ore production in the state was nearly one-fourth of the country's output and that exports were presently pegged at 38 million tonnes, which is a drop-down of 13 million tonnes from the nearly 51 million tonnes exported in the 2010-11 financial year.
"Its iron ore production is to the tune of 20 million tonnes per annum which is around one-fourth of the country's iron ore production. In the export field, Goa exports over 38 million tonnes of iron ore which is again around one-third of the country's total iron ore exports," Parrikar said.
The Justice M.B. Shah Commission, which is probing illegal mining in Goa, has pegged the mining scam here at Rs.35,000 crore and has indicted several bureaucrats and politicians as well as virtually all leading mining companies for rapacious illegal mining in the state's hinterland.
Goa has nearly 80 operational mining operations, while there are over 300 mining leases spread throughout the state.