Thursday , 17 October 2019
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Mining resumption hits loophole

Panaji: There seems to be confusion among officials of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and mining officials as to who  grants green nod allowing  operations in the lease area which is less than 100 hectares.

Harish Melvani, the leaseholder   who received  the government order on restarting   mining operations  at the Harvalem mines with annual iron ore production of 75,000 metric tonne, told ‘The Navhind Times’ that he will apply for environmental clearance from  the SEIAA and  get an EIA report prepared as his lease area is less than 100 hectares.

Melvani relies on the Environment Impact Assessment  August 2018 notification, which has increased threshold limits of minor minerals and non-coal mines from 50 hectares to 100 hectares, dividing the limits into two categories – category A and category B.

According to the notification, non-coal mines with lease area above 100 hectares is notified as category ‘A’ projects while operations in less than 100 hectares is categorised as category ‘B’ projects.

But the notification  does  not provide any clear understanding on environment clearances for such operations  – whether the project proponent must go for  an EIA and undertake a public hearing before an EC is granted.

There is no clarity  on category B projects – whether it is evaluated and given a clearance by state-level authorities or by the Union environment ministry.

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