‘Illegal mining’ could soon become legal. Modi government gives just 10 days for public feedback -Supriya Sharma
Mining companies stand to benefit from one of the amendments being pushed through without proper public consultation.
India’s mining law enables the government to recover 100% of the value of minerals extracted illegally. Based on this provision, in August 2017, the Supreme Court of India ordered the recovery of Rs 17,576 crore from mining companies that had extracted iron ore and manganese in Odisha in violation of environmental laws.
If the Modi government has its way, such recoveries will not be possible in the future.
On August 24, the mines ministry released a notice summarising “proposed reforms” to the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, the main law governing mining in India. One of the proposed amendments will change the very definition of “illegal mining”.
From extraction of minerals in violation of laws and regulations, the definition will be narrowed down to extraction done outside the mining lease area – or the defined area within which a company has been granted mining rights. Once the amendment is passed, any violation within the mining lease area – whether over-extraction of minerals beyond the mining plan or by flouting environmental and forest laws – will no longer be considered “illegal mining”.
This will be a bonanza for mining companies.
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Scroll.in, 3 September, 2020, https://scroll.in/article/972064/illegal-mining-could-soon-become-legal-modi-government-gives-just-10-days-for-public-feedback