Wed, 11 Dec, 2019

Fresh EIA not needed after mining lease expires: MoEF

04th December 2019, 03:50 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

In a bid to make the transition smoother from one mining leaseholder to the next after the expiry of a lease, the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change has dispensed with the need to conduct a fresh environmental impact assessment for the mining lease.  

Instead the new leaseholder can apply for an Environmental Clearance and avail of one expeditiously.  

“As these projects are already appraised and the Environment Impact Assessment and Environment Management Plan has been considered by the concerned Expert Appraisal Committee and granted environmental clearance, these projects need not be granted fresh environmental clearance by the regulatory authority concerned, so that their mining activity does not get disrupted”. 

The MoEF&CC believes that there would be cases related to mining projects granted environmental clearance under EIA notification 2006 wherein the validity of the environmental clearance granted for the mining lease may not have expired but the mining lease will have ended and freshly re-allocated to the successful bidder as per the provisions of the MMDR Act, 1957.  

With a view that several mines across the country are scheduled to expire on March 31, 2020 and “for continuation of the mining activity without any changes to production capacity” the MoEF in a notification has decreed that those who successfully bid for the mining leases “shall make an application for grant of an environmental clearance under the provisions of EIA notification, 2006 and all such applications shall be considered by the concerned EAC ro the state level EAC which shall decide -- with due diligence, considering the existing EIA/EMP and the environmental clearance granted earlier -- and the application shall be appraised accordingly for grant of environmental clearance subject to the same validity period as was initially granted.  

However, since Goa mines are effectively shut since March 15, 2018, this notification will not apply to Goa.  

“The notification applies to all States other than Goa. It applies to those mining leases outside Goa which are working and can work till 31.3.2020 as per the 2015 amendment to the MMDR Act. In those cases, if there is a successful bidder for the lease prior to March 31, 

2020, in order to ensure that mining does not halt on the lease, an attempt is now made to ensure speedier EC (that is, without a public hearing, and without having new EIA/EMP prepared, provided the balance period of the mining activity is less than 30 years,” stated an environmentalist.