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  • Context (PIB): National Mineral Policy 2019 (NMP 2019), which replaced the National Mineral Policy 2008, emphasises sustainable mining.

National Mineral Policy 2019 (NMP 2019)

  • NMP 2019 states minerals are valuable natural resources, and national goals and perspectives must guide their utilisation.

Focus of NMP 2019

  • Promote domestic industry.
  • Reduce import dependency and contribute to the Make in India initiative.
  • A fair and transparent allocation of mineral resources to ensure equitable distribution.
  • Ensure environmentally sustainable mining, with stakeholders’ participation.
  • Devolution of benefits of mining to mining-affected persons and areas.
  • Maintaining a high level of trust among all stakeholders.
  • Conducive regulatory environment for ease of doing business in the sector.
  • Gender sensitivity.

Key Provisions of NMP 2019

  • Introduction of Right of First Refusal for RL/PL holders
  • Encouraging the private sector to take up exploration.
  • Auctioning in virgin areas for composite RP cum PL cum ML on a revenue share basis
  • Encouragement of merger and acquisition of mining entities
  • Transfer of mining leases to encourage private-sector mining areas.
  • Creation of dedicated mineral corridors to boost private-sector mining areas.
  • Proposes to grant the status of industry to mining activity to enhance private-sector financing.
  • Mentions a long-term import-export policy for minerals.
  • Efforts to harmonise taxes, levies, and royalties with global benchmarks.
  • Rationalise unused reserved areas allocated to PSUs and auction them.
  • Incorporation of E-Governance, IT-enabled systems, awareness and information campaigns.
  • Reconnaissance License (RL) is granted for preliminary exploration of minerals through geological mapping, geophysical surveys, and limited drilling.
  • Prospecting License (PL) is granted for operations to explore, locate, or prove mineral deposit
  • Mining Lease (ML) means a lease granted to undertake mining operations.
  • Right of First Refusal is a contractual right to enter a business transaction with a person or company before anyone else can. If the party with this right declines, the obligor can entertain other offers.

Other Initiatives for Sustainable Mining

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDRA 1957)

  • It empowers the GoI to set rules for mineral conservation, systematic development, and environmental protection in mining operations.
  • Accordingly, Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR), 2017 which provides for:
    • Precaution against air pollution: License or leaseholders must minimise air pollution from fines, dust, smoke, or emissions within permissible limits during mining operations.
    • Permissible limits and standards: Adhere to standard and permissible limits for pollutants, toxins, and noise as notified by relevant authorities under current laws.

Environmental Clearance from the MoEF

  • The project proponent must monitor plant premises for fugitive emissions quarterly using labs recognised under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Appropriate Air Pollution Control (APC) systems shall be provided for all the dust-generating points.

State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and CPCB

  • SPCB and CPCB monitor pollution levels in mines as per their guidelines.
  • Ambient air monitoring is carried out in the core zone and buffer zone through a laboratory recognised by MoEF&CC under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • National Ambient Air Quality Standard, 2009, is adhered to for monitoring fugitive dust emission.
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