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Ban on iron mining in Goa, India


On 5th October 2012, iron mining was banned by the Supreme Court of India in the state of Goa. The former Portuguese colony is divided into a prosperous coastal strip and a mountainous area, belonging to the biologically rich Western Ghats. Iron mining is done in the area between the coast and the Western Ghats which are protected in theory by small contiguous national parks or wildlife sanctuaries.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ban on iron mining in Goa, India
State or province:Goa
Location of conflict:Goa (state)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

40 million tons of iron ore per year

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:100 000
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Sesa Goa Limited from India - former name of Sesa Sterlite Limited, controlled by Vedanta (UK)
Sesa Sterlite Limited from India
Vedanta Resources Plc from United Kingdom
Fomento from India
Vedanta from United Kingdom
Relevant government actors:Supreme Court of India, Justice Shah Commission, Government of Goa
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Goa Foundation
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Other Environmental impactsImpacts on the senstive environment of the Western Ghats.
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Other Health impactsTruck accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Fostering a culture of peace
Development of alternatives:Either a ban on iron mining and exports in Goa, or a resource cap.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The ban implies to bring to zero Goa iron mining extraction and exports of over 40 million tons per year. Even if a resource capof 10 million tons is allowed, this is still a big success.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Newspapers reports.
[click to view]

Goa Foundation documents.

Newspapers reports.
[click to view]

EJOLT blog entry.

Meta information
Contributor:Joan Martinez Alier
Last update12/04/2019
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