Monday, October 10, 2011

Catching Illegal Mining In Goa Using Google Earth

Ogle Earth points to the use of open access tools like Google Earth to alert us to the possibility of illegal mining. From their blog:

There is a juicy scandal unfolding in India’s smallest and richest state, Goa, where the State Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has prepared a report indicting ruling Congress Party politicians for benefiting from illegal mining in the state. Illegal mining is estimated (by the Hindustan Times) to have cost Goa over USD 600 million over the past five years in lost tax revenues, turning this into a whopper of a story.....

...India’s national Directorate of Mines and Geology has now also taken an interest in the mine, ordering it to immediately cease production until it is investigated. An article by Goa’s Herald spells it out for us:

Tarcar has cheated the government by avoiding huge amounts of export duty by under-invoicing of his exports.

When presented with evidence of massive ore dumps that could not have been produced within quota, his mining company contended that these were from earlier activities. Google Earth’s imagery from 2003 effectively catches the company in a lie.

Check out the imagery here. No open pit mines in 2003. The 2011 imagery shows large open pit mines.

These ores are part of the rich iron ore belt of Goa. They are Precambrian Banded Iron Formations generally thought to be of sedimentary origin and are associated with medium and high grade meta-sedimentary rocks of the Archean schist terrain that makes up large portions of south India.

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