Environmental Clearance For Mining Projects in India

Published on 06/01/2015

The MoEF, Government of India has, through notification no. S.O. 2601(E) dated 07-10-2014, amended the EIA notification no. S.O. 1533 (E) dated 14th September in respect to mining projects. Under the said amendment the following provisions have been made:

  1. Projects requiring Environmental Clearance for which an application has to be made to the MoEF, Government of India.
  • All Asbestos mining projects irrespective of area
  • All projects equal to or more than 50 Ha of mining lease in case of non coal mine lease and equal to or ┬ámore than 150 Ha of mining lease in respect of coal mine lease.
  • All stony pipelines passing through National Parks or sanctuaries or coral reefs or ecologically sensitive areas.
  1. Projects requiring Environmental Clearance for which an application has to be made at the respective state Environmental Impact Assessment Authority.
  • All non coal mining leases with a mining lease area less than 50 Ha.
  • All coal mining leases with a mining lease less than or equal to 150 Ha.

(All though not specifically mentioned in the notification, mining and  minerals would in my opinion generally assume the same meaning as defined in the MMDR Act 1957 and its rules and would include all major and minor minerals)

The amended notification also specifies that the General Conditions would apply except for projects with a mining lease of less than 5 Ha. The applicability of General conditions here would imply that if a mining project as above is located in whole or in part within 5 Km from the Boundary of (a) Protected areas notified under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (b) Critically polluted areas as identified by the CPCB (C) Ecosensitive zones as notified under the E.P. Act 1986 or Inter State and International boundaries then the application for clearance will be made at the MoEF level and not at the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority.

It has also been clarified in this notification (7-10-2014) that if there are adjacent mine areas within 500 meters of each other and their sum total is beyond 5 Ha then even though an individual lease may be less than 5 Ha. the General condition would apply and the matter shall be considered at the MoEF Government of India instead of the State Environmental Impact assessment Authority.

The notification also says that the prior environmental clearance is required at the stage of renewal of mine lease for which an application has to be made upto two years prior to the due date for renewal. However, it also specifies that no fresh Environmental Clearance shall be required for a mining project or activity at the time of renewal of mining lease which has already obtained environmental clearance under this notification.

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