ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Health of Mining and Wealth of Miners

All discussion of illegal mining, specially of iron ore, has to keep in mind two things. First, the nature of legality cannot be defined in narrow terms of mining laws, but needs to cover the environmental and social goods that lie in its ambit. Second, the massive growth in mining is directly related to the nature of economic liberalisation and loosening of government controls. Present mechanisms of administrative and judicial oversight have proved insufficient to stop this loot.

Everyone is talking about illegal mining today, none on legal mining. This is very surprising. According to the government’s mineral policy, and that of the British from whom we learnt to extract minerals from mother earth, minerals are the resources of future generations and each generation should be using it very judiciously. According to the mining laws it has always been laid down that during and after mining the environmental and socio-economic impact of this activity has to be kept in mind. Though, in principle, these laws and government policies talk of returning the land to nature after mining, there is, as yet, no good example of a mine area h aving been restored to nature.

All over the world, nature has wisely locked most of its minerals under forests, river beds or oceans, thereby ensuring greater sustainability. It is only the anthropocentric attitude of mankind, myopic to current welfare, that has led to thoughtless extraction of such resources by all methods and technologies.

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