National Mineral Policy 2019 to Ensure Sustainable Mining

The National Mineral Policy, 2019 [NMP 2019], states that minerals are valuable natural resources, which are essential raw materials for the core sectors of the economy. The exploration, extraction, and management of minerals are guided by national goals and perspectives, integrated into the overall strategy of the country’s economic development. NMP 2019 also focuses on promoting domestic industry, reducing import dependency, and contributing to the Make in India initiative. NMP 2019 emphasizes on a fair and transparent allocation of mineral resources to ensure equitable distribution of mineral wealth to serve the common good. NMP 2019 aims to ensure environmentally sustainable mining, with stakeholders’ participation; devolution of benefits of mining to mining-affected persons and areas; maintaining high level of trust among all stakeholders; conducive regulatory environment for ease of doing business in the sector; simpler, transparent, and time-bound procedures for obtaining clearances for mining.

Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR), 2017 was framed under Section 18 of MMDR Act, 1957 for the mineral conservation, systematic development of minerals and protection of environment by preventing or controlling any pollution which may be caused by prospecting or mining operations. As per Rule 12(1) of MCDR (amendment) 2017, the prospecting and mining operations shall be carried out in such a manner so as to ensure systematic development of mineral deposits, conservation of minerals and protection of the environment. Rule 35 to 44 under Chapter V of MCDR, 2017 is provided for Sustainable Mining. Adequate emphasis has been given on Sustainable Development in Mining areas in the NMP 2019. Further, to implement the Sustainable Development Framework (SDF), Ministry has evolved a system of Star Rating of Mines.

India is not a member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). However, India has adopted the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) to report the mineral resources, status of exploration and feasibility of extractions. Further, as per the MMDR Act, 1957 and rules framed thereunder, every lease holder has to adhere to the conditions prescribed under various clearances issued by the different Ministries /Departments of State and Central Government. The lease holders are also mandated to submit the prescribed reports like monthly / annual return, result of exploration, yearly report on progressive mine closure activities, etc. to statutory authorities.

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