Wednesday, May 05, 2010

India attempting to better regulate mining industry

From India to protect forests from mining:
"Much of India’s mineral wealth lies in densely-forested, remote areas inhabited by poor tribal people. Radical Maoist insurgents have built up a strong influence in these areas, partly by promising to protect these lands from corporate incursion. Mr Ramesh said getting environmental clearance for mining projects was traditionally merely a “formality” and companies “found creative ways of getting around it”. But he said India could no longer afford to approve every proposed mine. “There are areas where mining has clearly exceeded the carrying capacity,” he said.

The ministry will also soon make a decision on whether to allow Vedanta, the UK-listed miner, to go ahead with a highly controversial bauxite mine that has been criticised by ethical investors, such as the Church of England, and environmental activists.

Mr Ramesh blamed India’s “pathetic” track record of resettling those who lost land to mining projects for helping to fuel the Maoist insurgency now raging in mineral-rich central and eastern India.

The stand is backed by Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress party."

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