Coal Ministry going for major reforms to ensure responsible mining

New Delhi, Jun 20 (IANS): The Ministry of Coal on Thursday announced that it has revised the framework of preparation of the Mining Plan, a pivotal step to regulate and advance India's coal mining sector, and issued draft guidelines for consultation.

These guidelines serve as a strategic blueprint for coal mining companies, facilitating effective planning, execution, and monitoring of mining activities while upholding stringent environmental, social, and safety standards.

The primary objective is to optimise coal resource extraction through sustainable practices that minimise waste and enhance operational efficiency. This strategic approach includes advanced technological integration to streamline operations, thereby achieving environmental and economic sustainability, according to a Ministry statement.

Safety and health measures constitute a cornerstone of the revised guidelines, ensuring the protection of mining personnel and local communities. Robust safety protocols and infrastructure are imperative to safeguard all stakeholders involved in coal mining operations.

The revised draft guidelines also focus on responsible mining practices that bolster the coal industry while prioritising ecosystem preservation.

This involves mandatory inclusion of restoration, remediation, and regeneration measures in mining plans to ensure sustainable natural resource management.

By minimising environmental impacts, addressing community concerns, and promoting continuous improvement in water quality monitoring, the guidelines aim to foster a more sustainable and ethical approach to coal mining.

Key reforms introduced in the revised draft Mining Plan & Mine Closure Guidelines include:

* Enhanced flexibility for minor modifications in Mining Plans, with major changes requiring approval from the Coal Controller Organisation (CCO).

* Preference for blast-free and continuous coal-cutting technologies in mining methods.

* Implementation of comprehensive Safety Management Plans as per Coal Mines Regulations, 2017, including mandatory safety audits.

* Integration of fly ash filling protocols into mining plans to address related environmental concerns.

* Requirement for drone surveys and processed outputs for comprehensive five-year compliance reports of Mining Plans.

* Inclusion of sand for stowing in mines within revised guidelines.

* Facilitation of mine amalgamation for safer and more efficient operations, including the use of decoaled voids for overburden dumping.

* Mandatory adoption of conveyor belts or railway transport for coal evacuation, promoting environmental sustainability.

* Requirement for mechanised loading to optimise coal movement from siding to end-users, enhancing operational efficiency and environmental protection.

* Mandatory preparation of Temporary and Final Mine Closure Plans for abandoned or discontinued mines post-2009.



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Title: Coal Ministry going for major reforms to ensure responsible mining

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