Conservation of Natural Resources Damaged by Mining
INVC NEWS New Delhi, The Minister of State (Independent Charge) For Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Shri Piyush Goyal said today that the National Mineral Policy (NMP), 2008 recognizes that the extraction of minerals closely impacts other natural resources like land, water, air and forest. NMP, 2008 inter-alia enunciates that all mining shall be undertaken within the parameters of a comprehensive Sustainable Development Framework which, inter-alia, includes guiding principles for a miner to leave the mining area in a better ecological condition after mining and for optimum utilization of the country’s natural mineral resources. In reply to a question the Minister said that Section 18 of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 empowers Central Government to frame rules for the conservation and systematic development of minerals and for the protection of environment by preventing or controlling any pollution which may be caused by prospecting or mining operations. Accordingly, Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR), 1988 were framed wherein Rules 31 to 41 are on regulation of environmental aspects of mining. As regulators, Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) (a subordinate office of the Ministry of Mines) and State Governments approve the mining plan /scheme of mining for systematic and optimum utilisation/extraction of mineral. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has notified the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 on 14th September, 2006 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate the grant of environment clearance for various projects including mining projects. The impact on environment due to mining projects is assessed by an EIA study. Based on the same, Environmental Management Plan is prepared which is considered and the Environment Clearance is granted stipulating conditions to regulate impact on environment due to the project. The Central Government while according approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 stipulates appropriate mitigative measures, such as creation and maintenance of compensatory afforestation, realization of Net Present Value of the diverted forest land, implementation of wildlife conservation plan (wherever required), phased reclamation of mined out area, demarcation of boundary of mining lease etc. Safeguards are in place to ensure that approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land for mining are accorded only after ascertaining that the area of forest land to be diverted is bare minimum and its diversion for non-forest purpose/ mining is unavoidable.