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  • 21 April, 2023

  • 4 Min Read

Illegal Mining of Ores

Illegal Mining of Ores

  • The Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) recently raised the alarm about widespread corruption in Odisha's illegal manganese mining and transportation industries.
  • In mines other than those for coal, petroleum & natural gas, atomic minerals, and minor minerals, IBM is a multi-disciplinary government organisation under the Ministry of Mines that promotes conservation, scientific development of mineral resources, and environmental preservation.


  • Odisha is a mineral-rich State that has 43.64% of manganese, 33.61% of hematite iron ore, and 96.12% of the nation's chrome ore.
  • Mining lease holders in Odisha sent low-grade manganese ore from their mines to brokers in West Bengal, who then sold it as high-grade without further processing.
  • Some mining businesses in Odisha are involved in underreporting the amount of minerals produced and transported, as well as paying the proper royalties and taxes.
  • The issue of manganese ore grade decline is significant because it could have an impact on the product's quality and worth, which would cause the state government to lose out on money.

About mining

  • The mining industry is a key economic sector in India and makes a sizable contribution to the national economy. There are currently around 3,500 mining leases in operation throughout 23 states, totaling 316,290.55 hectares. Nearly 70% of the total is made up of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka. But these natural mineral extractions frequently result in imbalances, which have a severe detrimental effect on the environment.
  • Mining is the process of removing rich minerals or other geological components from the Earth, typically from an orebody, lode, vein, seam, reef, or placer deposit.
  • Environmental harm is virtually always caused by mining operations, both while the mine is operating and after it has shut down.
  • The majority of nations have therefore established restrictions to lessen the effect.
  • Mining's importance to India's economy
  • India's GDP is anticipated to expand at a rate of about 7% during the next few years.
  • The nation's need for steel and power will rise as infrastructure and automobiles get a new lease of life.
  • These sectors are expanding quickly and depend on the mining sector for their raw materials.

About illegal mining

  • The removal of minerals, ores, or other valuable resources from land or water bodies without the required permits, licences, or regulatory clearances from public authorities is known as illegal mining.
  • It may also involve breaking laws governing labour, safety, and the environment.

Challanges faced

  • Large-scale displacement causes people to feel alienated and untrusting of the government apparatus, which results in complaints and inadequate rehabilitation initiatives.
  • In addition to losing land, the local community is also losing their unique tribal culture and way of life.
  • States with abundant natural resources like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha have seen a rise in left-wing extremism.

health and environmental issues

  • The ecology has been seriously harmed by coal mining, the Makrana marble mines in Rajasthan, the granite mines in Karnataka, and the Damodar river has been severely harmed by mining for coal.
  • Biodiversity and cultural heritage have been lost as a result of mining.

Administration of Justice

  • Arbitrary allocations for coal mines are followed by long legal battles, annulment of allocations, and charges of corruption in block allocations.
  • Environmental approvals are delayed as a result of bureaucratic obstacles.
  • As a result of judicial intervention, investors experience lengthy delays and losses.
  • Governments may experience a loss of revenue as a result of miners' potential failure to pay required taxes and royalties.
  • This can have a big influence on the economy, especially in places where natural resources are a big source of income.
  • Violations of Human Rights
  • Human rights violations caused by illegal mining may also include forced labour, child labour, and the exploitation of weaker groups of people.

Governmental Efforts

  • In order to establish a framework for the long-term development of the Indian mining industry, mining leases are granted a star level.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in January 2016 between the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO, to launch a pilot study on "mining activity monitoring using satellite imagery" to stop illegal mining.
  • A device called the Mining Surveillance System (MSS) uses autonomous remote sensing to find unlawful mining.
  • The District Mineral Foundation Fund (DMF) was formed under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana [PMKKKY] for the benefit of individuals and regions impacted by mining.
  • To attract private exploration firms, the National Mineral Exploration Policy was developed.
  • The automated route allows 100% FDI in the mining and exploration of metal and nonmetal ores.
  • The state government is required to own the minerals found within its borders through an entry in List II (State List) at serial number 23.
  • The central government is required to own the minerals located within India's EEZ by the entry at serial No. 54 of List I (Central List).
  • This led to the creation of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act of 1957.
  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) oversees deep sea mineral exploration and exploitation in the international seabed region outside of the purview of national sovereignty.
Data and facts
  • India's coal production increased by 8.55 percent to 777.31 million tonnes (MT) in FY 2021–22.
  • As of 2021, India was the second-largest coal producer in the world.
  • India's mineral production is anticipated to total Rs. 190,392 crore (USD 24.95 billion) in FY22.
  • In terms of iron ore production, India comes in fourth place worldwide. The amount of iron ore produced in FY21 was 204.48 MT.
  • India was the world's second-largest producer of aluminium in FY21 with combined primary and secondary production of 4.1 MT annually.
Way ahead
  • Drones, GPS, and other cutting-edge technologies can all be used to monitor and find unlawful mining activity.
  • To better deter unlawful mining, the legal and regulatory system surrounding mining needs to be tightened.
  • It can be accomplished by passing stricter legislation, enhancing enforcement techniques, and stiffening fines for illicit mining operations.
  • To address their concerns and make sure their operations are sustainable, mining firms should collaborate extensively with the local community.

Source: The Hindu

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