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16 Nov

Mineral Conservation and Development (Amendment) Rules, 2021

Mineral Conservation and Development (Amendment) Rules, 2021

The Ministry of Mines has notified the Mineral Conservation and Development (Amendment) Rules, 2021 to amend the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR), 2017.

  • The MCDR has been framed under section 18 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 [MMDR Act].
  • They provide rules regarding conservation of minerals, systematic and scientific mining, development of the mineral in the country and for the protection of the environment.

Key Points

  • Compulsory Drone Survey:
    • Rules prescribed that all plans and sections related to mine shall be prepared by combination of Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS) or Total Station or by drone survey in relation to certain or all leases as may be specified by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM, Nagpur).
      • total station is an optical instrument commonly used in construction, surveying and civil engineering. It is useful for measuring horizontal angles, vertical angles and distance.
  • Digital Image Submission:
    • New Rule inserted to provide for submission of digital images of mining areas by lessees and Letter of Intent holders.
    • Lessees having annual excavation plans of 1 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 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.
  • Reduction of Compliance Burden:
    • Provision of daily return omitted to reduce compliance burden. Power of taking action against incomplete or wrong or false information in monthly or annual returns given to IBM, in addition to State Government.
  • Penalty Provisions:
    • Penalty provisions in the rules have been rationalized. Amendment in the rules categorized the violations of the rules under the following major heads:
      • Major Violations: Penalty of imprisonment, fine or both.
      • Minor Violations: Penalty reduced. Penalty of only fine for such violations prescribed.
      • Decriminalization of Rules: Violation of other rules has been decriminalized. These rules did not cast any significant obligation on the concession holder or any other person.
  • Financial Assurance:
    • Provision of forfeiture of financial assurance or performance security of the lease holder added in case of non-submission of final mine closure plan within the period specified.
  • Increased Employment Opportunity:
    • Allowed engagement of a part-time mining engineer or a part-time geologist for small mines which will ease compliance burden for small miners.
    • Diploma in mining and mine surveying granted by duly recognized institute along with a second class certificate of competency issued by the Director General of Mines Safety is added in qualification for full time Mining Engineer.
      • Also, qualification for part time Mining Engineer added.

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