Coal mines to get automatic nod for first expansion

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SummaryIn an attempt to fast-track coal production, the ministry of environment and forests has decided to allow companies with mining leases to expand production by 25% over the initially approved plan, without having to secure a fresh environment clearance from the ministry.

would have to take recourse to public hearing a year before their mining lease lapses. The mines ministry also wanted a third party audit of measures taken by companies towards complying with the EC process. In case of expansion of existing mines, the process will be mandatory only if the project involves taking up the mine capacity by 25%.

“I do not see the rationale of conducting public hearing and going through cumbersome clearance process all over again for companies that had already taken these while getting new mining leases. This would only delay projects,” said an official of the a public sector company asking not to be named.

“There are various matters under consideration and increasing capacity has an environmental impact due to which matters get jumbled up which cause delays. Earlier, no clarity had come from the MoEF but this move will impact a huge quantity of coal production,” said a coal ministry official.

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