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
NameBan on iron mining in Goa, India
SiteGoa (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)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project Details40 million tons of iron ore per year
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100 000
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesSesa 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 actorsSupreme Court of India, Justice Shah Commission, Government of Goa
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGoa Foundation
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal 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 MobilizationCreation 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)
OtherImpacts 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
OtherTruck accidents
Socio-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Fostering a culture of peace
Development of AlternativesEither a ban on iron mining and exports in Goa, or a resource cap.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

Newspapers reports.
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Newspapers reports.
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Goa Foundation documents.

EJOLT blog entry.

Meta Information
ContributorJoan Martinez Alier
Last update12/04/2019