NEW DELHI: An expert panel has deferred environment clearance for diamond mining in Panna to the state-owned miner National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), after it received a complaint highlighting the site’s proximity to a tiger reserve as well as a wildlife corridor.
In its meeting on October 23-24, the Environment Appraisal Committee of the Environment ministry looking after non-coal mining projects decided to postpone the two proposals of the NMDC for mining of 1 lakh carat of diamond annually.
The NMDC had obtained the mining rights of Majhgawan Diamond Mine and a supplementary section till 2020 under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 1994.
Notably, the NMDC is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Steel.
It had to approach the Environment ministry afresh as a Supreme Court ruling in April 2018 stipulated that mining projects which got environmental clearance in 1994 are required to obtain the green nod under the EIA Notification, 2006.
Keeping in mind the area’s proximity to the Panna Tiger Reserve, the panel has sought details of the environment and wildlife compliance and implementation of the conditions put on the NMDC. It also sought comprehensive details about the total proposed production quantity of diamonds, over burden, waste generation among others.
The Environment Appraisal Committee noted that a complaint was received on this mine which inter-alia states that it “exists abutting the Panna Tiger Reserve and the mine also falls under the Buxwaha Protected Forest”.
The forest also forms a part of the wildlife corridor between the Panna Tiger Reserve and the Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, the complaint stated.
The Committee has now directed the Environment ministry to examine the issues and send details before the project be considered for approval.