The government has notified the amended mineral conservation and development rules, a move will that will not only improve mine planning practices, security
and safety in mines but also ensure better supervision of mining operations.
The Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR) have been framed under section 18 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act).
The rules pertain to conservation of minerals, systematic and scientific mining, development of minerals in the country and for the protection of environment.
"Ministry of Mines has notified the Mineral Conservation and Development (Amendment) Rules, 2021 on November 3, 2021 to amend the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 2017 (MCDR)," the mines ministry said in a statement.
The amendment rules have been framed after extensive consultations with state governments, industry associations, miners, other stakeholders and general public, it said.
The new rules have been inserted to provide for submission of digital images of mining area by lessees and Letter of Intent holders.
Lessees having annual excavation plan of one million tonne or more or having leased area of 50 hectare or more are required to submit drone survey images of leased area and up to 100 meters outside the lease boundary every year.
"Other lessees to submit high resolution satellite images. This step will not only improve mine planning practices, security
and safety in the mines but also ensure better supervision of mining operations," it said.
The provision of daily return has been omitted to reduce compliance burden. Power of taking action against incomplete or wrong or false information in monthly or annual returns has been given to Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), in addition to state government, it said.
Penalty provisions in the rules have been rationalized. Previously, the rules provided for penalty of imprisonment up to two years or fine up to Rs 5 lakh or both for violation of each and every rule irrespective of the severity of the violation.
"Amendment in the rules categorised the violations of the rules," it said.
In case of major violations there is a penalty of imprisonment, fine or both.
In case of minor violations, penalty is reduced. Penalty of only fine for such violations has been prescribed, it said.
"Violation of other rules has been decriminalised. These rules did not cast any significant obligation on the concession holder
or any other person. Thus, violation of 24 rules has been decriminalised," it said.
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