SUSTAINABLE MINING PRACTICES IN INDIA
The mineral industry in India is an important contributor to the country’s GDP and foreign trade, and also a significant source of employment generation. The industry is distributed almost all across the country and has operations in some of the remotest areas, where it has also served as a sole source of infrastructure development. India produces 89 minerals, out of which four are fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 non-metallic and 22 minor minerals. The mining leases are occupying about 0.21% of the total land mass of the country. Indian mining industry is characterized by a large number of small operational mines (approx 3000 mines). Appropriate systems have been put in place to ensure sustainable growth of the sector, which include formulation of procedures for scientific prospecting and mining and development of a mechanism of prior environmental and forest clearances for mining projects. Main emphasis is to protect the health and safety of mine workers, as well as to safeguard the interests of indigenous people through rehabilitation and resettlement packages. Efforts are under way to mainstream the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in order to promote equity in the mining industry. The issue of scientific closure and reclamation of the abandoned mine sites poses a major challenge. Present paper illustrated several initiatives have been taken in this direction along with case studies, which could be replicated in other parts of the country.
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