Goa’s 90 odd open-cast iron ore mines, currently closed for nearly two years following a mining ban, could be tapped for generating hydel power, says wildlife conservationist Bittu Sahgal.
Speaking during the inauguration of an environment film festival in Panaji Friday, Sahgal, a member of the National Wildlife Board, also said that mining is necessary but not at such a scale that it “consumes us”.
“We certainly need mining to do a whole load of things, but we don’t need it at a scale that mining itself consumes us,” Saghal said.
“The potential to convert old mining pits into natural dams that could power mini hydro-electric plants must be seriously examined,” Sahgal said.
Until the time mining was banned by the Supreme Court in September 2012, Goa’s 90 odd operational iron ore mines produced 45 million tonnes of iron ore annually.
The ban was lifted in April this year, but mining could not be resumed because of formalities and policies which the apex court has asked the state government to put in place.
Open-cast mines are shaped like volcanic craters and in these millions of cubic feet of water is collected during the monsoon. This water is normally pumped out and is literally wasted, before mining operations begin.
“Nature will never argue with you….it will only punish and, or reward everybody, uniformly, irrespective of whether or not you’ve been good or bad to the environment,” Bittu said.