Shri Piyush Goyal, launches Web Portal for Star Rating of Major Mineral Mines
India has become one of the fastest growing and developing economy in the world. India, being enriched with variety of minerals, has witnessed increased activity in the field of mining to support the rapid economic development. The exploitation of natural resources and its impact on environment and ecology have become far more significant. There has been concerns on the adverse impact of mining on ecology, environment such as pollution of water, air and land affecting adversely the local communities as well as displacements of people. There is an urgent need to balance mining activities vis a vis protection of environment.
The Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India is already focusing on Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) for Indian Mining Sector as a guiding principle for Indian mining industry encompassing inclusive growth, without adversely affecting the social, economic and environmental well-being, at present and also in future generation.
The Ministry of Mines has developed a credible system of evaluation of mining footprints and the first Piolt rollout of SDF was launched in the Sukinda Chromite mine of M/s. Tata Steel in Odisha by Sri Balvinder Kumar, Secretary (Mines) on 07.01.2016.
The Ministry through Indian Bureau of Mines has developed a template for Scheme of Star Rating of Mines. The main objective of this system is to bring all mines to a minimum standard of Star Rating in the shortest possible time frame to adopt sustainable practices. A two layered system providing self-evaluation templates to be filled in by the mine operator followed by validation through Indian Bureau of Mines. Templates have been notified vide notification dated 23.05.2016. The star rating will be based on the following parameters:
Ø Scientific and systematic mining to mitigate environmental impact.
Ø Addressing social impacts of resettlement and rehabilitation of mining affected people.
Ø Local community engagements and welfare programmes for socio-economic development of local community.
Ø Progressive and final mine closure to ensure for restoration of mined out land in better conditions then original.
Ø Adoption of international standards for mining operations and reporting.
Based on the performance of the mining leases, a one to five star rating would be given to the mines. The Star Rating will be done initially for mines of major minerals. The positive impact of getting higher Star Rating will drive miners to quickly adopt sustainable mining practices. Initially Star Rating on Pilot basis was done manually and 19 mines were awarded with 4 &5 Stars at the first National Conclave on Mines & Minerals held at Raipur, 4-5 July, 2016. The Star Rating is being considered to be included as statutory provision in the MCDR for time-bound achieving of minimum 4star.
A web enabled online system for evaluation of measures has been developed with the help of National Institute of Smart Governance (NISG), Hyderabad. It was launched by the Minister of State (Independent charge) for Mines, Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Shri Piyush Goyal on 18th August, 2016. The Mines Minister has said that the Scheme of Star Rating will be a vital step for ensuring compliance of environmental protection and social responsibility by the mining sector and has given a deadline for Star Rating of all mines by 31st of December, 2016.
The Ministry of Mines has constituted an Apex Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary (Mines) and members drawn from various ministries and reputed institutions to facilitate and resolve issues in initial implementation of Star Rating.
The main advantages of the Star Rating of Mines will be:
Ø Comprehensive mitigation of environmental impacts on land, air and water by mining activities.
Ø Collation of various technical, environmental and social data of the mining sector at one platform by IBM, which would be utilised to enable better management and monitoring of the compliance of various conditions laid down by statutory authorities for mining.
Ø In addressing cumulative impacts in mining areas through coordinated and collective action in the long run by helping in formulation of Comprehensive Regional Plans’- a robust Environment &Social Management framework.
Ø Availability of the information on mining as well as the conservation activities in public domain to enable greater transparency to enable effective participation of stakeholder and speedy resolution of conflicts.
Ø Reduced delays in obtaining various clearances (environmental, forest, mining plan, etc.) for mines. Self-certification to be allowed for the approvals for scheme of mining.
Ø The progressive and final mine closures will be monitored to ensure that the lessee leaves the area after proper management of any adverse impact over the mined area.
Ø Encourage adoption of highest standards and sharing and good practices.