Mining and environmental problems in the Ib valley coalfield of Orissa, India
P. Paramita Mishra, 2005. "Mining and environmental problems in the Ib valley coalfield of Orissa, India", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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The exploitation of mineral resources through surface and underground mining has in the past caused a wide range of environmental problems such as health degradation, air, water and noise pollution, decline in agricultural production, deforestation, displacement and other socio-economic impacts. However, over the past number of years, stakeholders in the industry have been striving to avoid and mitigate the potential detrimental effects of mining on fragile ecosystems and local communities. Governments are increasingly formulating and adopting policies to ensure the sustainable development of their country’s mining industry and mining companies are striving to be better environmental citizens. Environmental groups have become increasingly involved in mining disputes. However, a lot has to be achieved to ensure mining in carried out in a sustainable way. This paper concentrates on the environmental effects of coal mining in the Ib valley coalfield of Orissa, India. Background to the increasing awareness of the environmental issues associated with mining is provided in the first section of this paper. The second section discusses the general problems associated with mining, with particular reference to the Ib valley coalfield. In addition, measures undertaken by the companies operating the Ib valley coalfield to deal with environmental problems are presented.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.