- India’s mineral sector is diverse. From sand to atomic minerals and from coal to limestone, the sector involves the production of over 85 minerals every year, worth trillions of rupees.
- However, mining disturbs ecosystems and vulnerable communities.
- Despite regulatory frameworks and a push for the concept of sustainable mining, the industry has severely affected millions.
- In fact, many believe that the transition to renewable energy has not been able to provide much relief either.
India has a huge mining sector, worth trillions of rupees, involving both public and private sector units across India employing millions directly and indirectly. However, in the absence of any effective regulatory oversight, the sector has often caused irreversible damage to the health and livelihoods of communities, forests, water bodies and wildlife.
Considering that mining of many minerals is referred to as a necessary evil, the concept of ‘just transition’ is gaining centre stage that involves discussion around operating and shutting mines sustainably or shifting to renewable power in the case of coal mining.
But whether these transitions in India’s mining sector are “just” for the environment and the communities is a question that needs detailed discussions.
Banner image: A woman carried coal in a mine in Jharia. Photo by Gurvinder Singh.