Coal Ministry seeks World Bank guidance for a robust mine closure framework

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 06, 2021

The Coal Ministry plans to build an all-inclusive India-wide mine closure framework to cover legacy mines   -  The Hindu

The Ministry has envisaged to build an all-inclusive comprehensive India-wide mine closure framework to cover legacy mines

The Coal Ministry is in consultation with the World Bank for obtaining support in the process of finalising a robust mine closure framework, the Government said Wednesday in a press release.

A Preliminary Project Report (PPR) for the proposed engagement with the World Bank has been submitted to the Finance Ministry for approvals, it added.

The mine closure framework will focus on three major aspects of institutional governance, people and communities and environmental reclamation and land repurposing on the principles of just transition, according to the release.

‘Repurposing mine sites’

“The process of repurposing of closed mines sites has already been set in motion by the Sustainable Development cell of the Coal Ministry. Several rounds of meetings have been held with coal companies and the Coal Controller Office to discuss various aspects relating to the envisaged programme. Inter-ministerial consultations have also been made with ministries concerned and the NITI Aayog to obtain their views and suggestions,” the release said.

The Coal Ministry has envisaged to build an all-inclusive comprehensive India-wide mine closure framework to cover legacy mines, recently closed mines and mine closures scheduled to happen in the short-term. The entire exercise will have two important components - phase-1 which involves comprehensive mapping of the Indian coal ecosystem to establish a detailed baseline in respect of current and pending coal mine closures etc and phase-2 - the actual implementation of mine closure programme as per finalised roadmap etc.

As per the release, Phase-1 of the programme, which is likely to continue for 10-12 months, is expected to start shortly. A Special Purpose Entity (SPE) under the administrative control of the Coal Controller Office will be set up to oversee the implementation of both the phases.

‘Learning phase’

“It is expected that continuous learning during the next 3-4 years will lead to development of a comprehensive mine closure framework, adequate strengthening of institutions and much improved policy needed to support mine closures that will happen in the medium to longer term,” the release said. It further added that the most important outcome of the programme will be sustainable remediation of all legacy mine sites, which have been lying unattended for a long time, and providing for the livelihood of families dependent on mines.

Published on October 06, 2021

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