we should stop all iron ore exports to china forthwith.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
|Sunita Narain: What China is doing to Goa|
|DOWN TO EARTH|
|Sunita Narain / New Delhi April 10, 2007|
|I wrote last fortnight about how mining in Goa for iron ore was ripping its forests and devastating its people. I had asked then: what are we doing? I ask this again.|
|The fact is that Chinese demand for iron ore has increased its price from $14 per tonne to $60 per tonne. This has spurred a black gold rush—mining companies are bidding for areas that were either closed or not opened because they were unprofitable or unviable. In many cases, these mines had not been worked because they were close to villages and companies knew that people would probably protest. Now none of this matters. The industry says this is boom time—the Chinese are willing to buy low-grade ore, which Goa has aplenty.|
|But what is clear is that this Chinese connection is costing Goa big time. If all the 430 odd leases are worked, then over 8.5 per cent of Goa's land area would be under mines. Industry argues this is a small price to pay. The fact is that mining is concentrated in some villages—their entire land will be swallowed up by mines. An application filed under the Right to Information Act reveals that in these villages large areas have been listed as leases—in Colomba village, for instance, almost 1,500 hectares of land may be mined, out of the villages 1900-odd hectares. This is the case in village after village, where, as I wrote last fortnight, I saw land and livelihoods being destroyed. And I saw angry people and tense miners. |