7:17 pm - Sunday November 8, 2015

Minerals Council of Australia propose help to Indian mining firms

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Minerals Council of Australia, the apex body of miners in that country, today said that it was ready to offer help to Indian companies on sustainable mining.

“Australian companies have developed the expertise on sustainable mining for several years. Given the environmental and rehabilitation issues gaining importance in India as well, we are ready to offer the needed expertise to Indian mining firms”, Melanie Stutsel, an expert representing the council told reporters here. She said the mining industry all over the world was witnessing serious issues like forging sustainable long term relations with the communities displaced by mining activity.

There was also need to ensure good returns to communities besides proper environmental impact assessment, she added.

Stutsel said Australia could also offer help in protecting the key environmental values with the help of social NGOs.

She said her country could also assist in capacity building and a public policy to ensure a good and enabling regulatory framework to boost mining activity in India.
She felt that the issue of land rights of people who faced displacement due to a mining project could not be resolved merely through legislation. “It is not just a matter of legislative framework that drives these issues…. there is need to convince the land-owners about the business benefits that will accrue as a result of his giving up land rights for a mining project,” she said. “In Australia, talks to forge an agreement between the mining company and tribals can take up to six months, and if government arbitration thereafter fails to resolve matters, then six more months are spent on further consultations,” she said.

There was also need to ensure good returns to communities besides proper environmental impact assessment, she said. “One has to guarantee that there is no net loss,’’ she added.

She observed that large section of mining activity in India seemed to be out of the purview of regulation. As for Indian environment laws, she stressed the need for a single set of environment regulation.

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