Illegal mining of beach sand minerals
- August 2, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Illegal mining of beach sand minerals
Subject : Geography
Section: Economic Geography
- Ministry of Mines has invited comments/suggestions of the stakeholders viz, Central Government Ministries/Departments, States Governments and Union Territories, mining industry stake-holders, industry associations, general public, and other persons and entities concerned on the proposal to remove certain atomic minerals including beach sand minerals in Part B of the First Schedule of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation & Development) [MMDR] Act, 1957.
- Some of these minerals are technology and energy critical (elements) having uses in the space industry, electronics, information technology and communications, energy sector, electric batteries and the nuclear industry and are critical in net zero emission commitment of India.
- Country is dependent on imports for most of these important commodities. These minerals have high economic importance and considerable supply risk due to geo-political uncertainties.
- As per section 23C of the MMDR Act, 1957 the State Governments are empowered to frame rules to prevent illegal mining and the State Governments may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make such rules for preventing illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals and for purposes connected therewith.
- Data regarding incidence of illegal mining of such minerals is not maintained Centrally.
However, Government of India has taken a number of steps to check such illegal mining of Beach Sand Minerals viz;
- A new section “11B” has been introduced under the MMDR Act 1957 to empower of Central government to make rules for regulating atomic minerals specified under Part B of First Schedule.
- Ministry of Mines notified Atomic Mineral Concession Rules 2016 (AMCR-2016) towards protecting and conserving the “Atomic Minerals” by introducing the concept of “Threshold value”. “Beach Sand Minerals” (BSM) declared as “Atomic Minerals” under part-B of First Schedule of the MMDR Act 1957.
- Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India issued Notification on export policy on BSM under which export of BSM have been brought under State Trading Enterprise and shall be canalized through IREL.
- Towards ensuring complete government control over “Monazite” and “Zircon” occurring within the “Beach sand Minerals” Ministry of Mines (MoM) amended AMCR-2016- Threshold value of Monazite” for BSM occurring in teri or placer deposits as “0.00% in Total Heavy Minerals (THM).
- Ministry of Mines vide notification No. S.O. 2807(E). dated 12.07.2021 under the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 24(Power of entry and inspection for purpose of ascertaining the position of the working, actual or prospective, of any mine or abandoned mine or for any other purpose connected with this Act or the rules made thereunder) of the MMDR Act, 1957 authorizing the officers of the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) to exercise all or any of the powers specified in that sub-section, in respect of minerals specified in Part B of the First Schedule to the said Act.
- Ministry of Mines vide notification S.O. 2805(E). dated 12.07.2021 under the provisions of Section 22 (Cognizance of Offences punishable under this Act and the rules made thereunder) of the MMDR Act, 1957 authorizing the officers of the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research to prefer complaints in writing in respect of any offences punishable under the said Act or the rules made thereunder in respect of minerals specified in Part B of the First Schedule to the said Act.
The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957)
- It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the mining sector in
- It was amended in 2015 and 2016. This act forms the basic framework of mining regulation in India.
- This act is applicable to all mineral except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- It details the process and conditions for acquiring a mining or prospecting licence in India.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments. River sand is considered a minor mineral.
- For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.