NEW DELHI: The government is all set to hand over ten to fifteen abandoned coal or legacy mines to the World Bank under the mine closure framework by the end of this year. These mines fall in the regions of Eastern coalfields limited, Bharat Coking Coal Limited, Central Coalfields Limited and Western Coalfields Limited.
As per an official, the World Bank is itself interested in these legacy mines and is ready to give a financial assistant for the rehabilitation. “The offer for the financial assistant to the abandoned mines came from the World Bank. It is under the consideration of the Coal Ministry. As the ministry can’t take a suo moto decision on it, it has sent the proposal to the Finance Ministry for approval,” said the official.
The ministry has prepared a Preliminary Project Report (PPR) for engagement with the World Bank submitted to the Finance Ministry for approval. Inter-Ministerial consultations have also been made with Ministries concerned and NITI Aayog to obtain their views and suggestions.
Coal mining in India had started long back, and coalfields are replete with several legacy mines remaining unused for long. Mines are closing and will close in future also due to reasons such as exhaustion of reserves, adverse geo-mining conditions, safety issues etc. Therefore, the Mine closure guidelines were first introduced in 2009, re-issued in 2013 and are still evolving. The ministry is working on a robust mine closure framework.