April 13-18, 2015
The one week Experience Sharing Workshop on Mining was held from 13-18, April 2015 at Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi. The programme was attended by fourteen senior level officials from Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Botswana, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The aim of this workshop was to facilitate cross-country learning on the challenges faced in the mining sector, share best practices and discuss future sustainable prospective in this sector with the help of interactive sessions and site visits. The workshop comprised of country presentations by each participant on the environmental challenges, legislative framework and environmental clearance mechanism for mining projects. CSE representatives also shared with the participants the mining scenario in India- legislative framework, practices such as benefit sharing, mine reclamation and restoration. There were also some insightful discussions on Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation and profit sharing.
As a part of the exposure visit, participants were taken to Nagpur, Maharashtra for a two day site visit to open cast and underground coal mines in the region. The participants visited opencast mines in Umrer Area, near Nagpur. This was followed by a session chaired by Mr. RR Mishra, CMD, Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) on best practices adopted by WCL – mine eco-tourism, an initiative by WCL and the government of Maharashtra, reclamation of a mine site into an eco-park, making mine water available for irrigation to a drought-hit village near the mine site. The participants were inquisitive to know about the mine operations, the challenges that WCL faces and how is WCL adopting sustainable mining practices. The participants also visited underground coal mines in the Saoner area. The participants even got an opportunity to witness some of the best practices on mine water irrigation in Borgaon village.
Key learnings from the programme
In most of the participating African countries, there is a single window clearance mechanism for mining related projects. A mining project is cleared based on an impact assessment report that is submitted by a private accredited consultant hired by the proponent. This is further followed by evaluation by environmental, forest and other concerned authorities. The EIA regime for large scale mining projects is well in place.
Artisanal and small scale mining pose a lot of challenges, even though, small scale mines are fairly well regulated. EIA is required for small scale mines in all countries except Tanzania that requires an Environmental Protection Plan (EPP). In case of Zambia a partial EIA is required for small scale mining (called Environmental Project Brief - EPB). A cluster concept for EIA/EPP is being considered in some countries such as Tanzania, Botswana for small-scale mining for projects that are in the vicinity and have the same project proponent.
Public consultation or public hearing is required by the law while doing an EIA and are carried out by the consultants conducting the EIA. The implementation of laws is another challenge that came out during the discussion with the African nations. The participants expressed the need of strengthening monitoring and inspection. Although, there are enough regulatory institutions, but resources in terms of finance and man-power are major constraints- thus necessitate of a comprehensive legislative framework.
The issue of abandoned mines is common to all countries. Even if there are mine closure provisions, mine reclamation and rehabilitation is very weak in all countries, particularly for opencast mines. Though there is a mine closure fund in most countries, the closure practices need to be strengthened (Botswana has no closure fund). Continued use of old technology in mining is also a major challenge. The penal provisions are weak- it is easier to violate than to comply. There is also an issue of same rate of penalties for local and foreign investors.
Most of the countries wanted to implement the concept of benefit sharing. All participating African countries were found to have no direct benefit sharing provision except Mozambique that requires 2.5% of the royalties to be distributed in mining affected areas. All countries expressed this as an area they could learn more about from the Indian context. Also, most of the mining companies are weak on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related initiatives.
The participating nations expressed the need of Indo-African collaboration for sharing of experiences and strengthening institutions to encourage for sustainable mining.
|Mining in African nations- Interviews|
“CSE should continue to collaborate with African nations in areas of capacity building, EIA, EIA review and how to ensure effective compliance and montoring. The programme was very beneficial and I shall recommend such courses to all regulatory institutions across Tanzania”
Mr. Benjamin Joel Mchwampaka, Assistant Commissioner,
“ I am looking forward for a collaboration between CSE and my agency to work on areas concerning EIA- enforcement, Environmental Management Plan, Mine Closure and Reclamation, Environmental standards”
Mr. Bashir Abba Waziri, Asst. Chief Tech Officer,
“Thank you for the experience and the hospitality. We look forward to take the association further to work on modules and accredit CSE to provide both short term and long term programmes”
Dorothy Khabenyana Kgathi-Thite, Deputy Director,