Panaji: The Goa government on Tuesday cancelled the licenses of nearly 450 iron ore traders registered here in a bid to check extraction and export of iron ore.
The order suspending the licenses was issued late Tuesday by the mines ministry which is headed by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
"All of them have also been issued showcause notices which asked them why action should not be taken (against them)," newly appointed mines department director Prasanna Acharya said.
Sources said that the step to cancel mining licences was essential to temporarily plug the illegal extraction of ore and export, which a majority of the ore dealers indulge in.
"There were large scale irregularities in the issuance of licences to these operators by the mines department. There were scores of cases where the addresses of the ore traders were fake," an official said, adding that the increase of illegal mining in Goa was directly proportional to the rise in the number of ore traders registered in Goa.
On Monday, the Goa government had suspended mines director Arvind Lolienkar, whom Parrikar had accused of illegalities and pandering to the illegal mining lobby.
Justice MB Shah Commission who had looked into the illegal mining mafia in Goa had also said that the large number of iron ore traders were responsible for illegal mining in the state.
Goa's traditional mining industry was earlier dominated by a few handpicked families who controlled the business with an iron fist until the 2000s, when the infrastructure boom in China fuelled unprecedented mining in the state.
In the last year Goa exported more than 50 million tons of iron ore.