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Forest Clearance for Bailadila Iron Ore Deposit
Recommended for Rejection

 

Contrary to all expectations, the Forest Advisory Committee in its meeting on Feb 28, 2017 recommended the rejection of the forest clearance application for NMDC's Bailadila Iron Ore Mining Complex's Deposit #4 (Dantewada).

The recommendation for rejection listed the following grounds:

1. NMDC's existing 6 operational mines (out of a total 9) in Bailadila have uncovered almost twice the ore initially projected and planned for, with further deep excavation uncovering more, in all likelihood. So, and I quote the FAC minutes, "NMDC has sufficient iron ore reserve in its mining leases".

2. The FAC also observed that with advancement of mining in Deposits 4 and 10, the micro-climate supporting the extremely rare and endangered tree ferns - of which only 327 are left in the entire forest range, and are found no where else in India - will likely be destroyed which may cause the loss of the Tree Fern species. Moreover, opening of Deposit 4 will have adverse impact on the local ecological regimes especially the water sources.

In addition to recommending rejecting NMDC's proposal for forest diversion, it also recommended a critical study
NMDC is mining over 8000 hectares in the Bacheli forest range. Given the state of limited natural resources in the area, there is a need to assess the ecologically sustainable maximum production level in the area. The FAC recommended the carrying out of a study to assess this maximum permissible production level which can be sustained ecologically without hampering the existing natural resources in the Bailadila Mountain Range.

This is a most unexpected, and welcome development from the MoEFCC's FAC.

 

Mar 26, 2017