The coal ministry has issued revised guidelines for preparing mine closure plans, incorporating a few stringent provisions.
Mine owners would now have to open escrow accounts with scheduled banks, with the Coal Controller’s Organisation (CCO) as an exclusive beneficiary. When the final mine closure scheme is implemented by the owner five years before the scheduled closure of operations, the CCO may permit withdrawals from the escrow account proportionate to the quantum of work carried out, as reimbursement. The withdrawn amount every year should not exceed 20 per cent of the total amount deposited in the account.
Mine owners would have to ensure the protective measures in the closure plans, including reclamation and rehabilitation works, are carried out in accordance with the approved and the final closure plans.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a ministry official told Business Standard mine owners would have to give to the CCO an annual report before July 1 every year, stating the extent of protective and rehabilitative works carried out, as envisaged in the approved mine closure plans. The mine owner would also have to obtain a mine closure certificate from the CCO stating the protective, reclamation and rehabilitation works are in accordance with the approved/final mine closure plan, and that these had been carried out for surrendering the reclaimed land to the state government concerned.