Tag Archives: mines

La Mina del Diablo

Bolivian documentary “Le Mina del Diablo” (The Devil’s Miner) documenting the lives of children working in mines in Terra Rocco mines near the city of Potosi.

The documentary follows one 14 year old Basilio Vargas who along with his 12 year old brother Bernardino Vargas work in a mine to take care of their family, because their father has died and they have a mother and a sister to take care of.

Some never before seen videos of working conditions inside a mine. There is danger every single minute from explosions, gases, collapses etc. People don’t live beyond 35 to 40 years because of silicosis which affects their lungs.

The kid then goes to another mine where he gets $4 per day but he does not take his brother there because it is far away and more dangerous. The supervisor takes him to the deepest point in the mine which is about 1200 feet below the ground where the conditions are absolutely atrocious for any human being to survive.

Basilio has a good head on his shoulders because he goes to school and knows that working long time in the mine is not good for them. Their family live in a small stone hut which does not protect from the intense cold conditions on the mountain. Basilio wants to study and graduate and become a school teacher.

Excellent documentary which tells the story from the boy’s point of view entirely. There is no narration at all.

You can watch the documentary here at

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mineral conservation


Ministry of Mines has notified the Mineral Conservation and Development (Amendment) Rules, 2021 on 3rd November, 2021 to amend the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 2017 [MCDR].

The MCDR have been framed under section 18 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 [MMDR Act] to provide rules regarding conservation of minerals, systematic and scientific mining, development of the mineral in the country and for the protection of environment.

The amendment rules have been framed after extensive consultations with the State Governments, industry associations, miners, other stakeholders and general public. The highlights of amendments in the Rules are as follows:

(i) Rules prescribed that that all plans and sections related to mine shall be prepared by combination of Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS) or Total Station or by drone survey in relation to certain or all leases as may be specified by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

(ii) New Rule inserted to provide for submission of digital images of mining area by lessees and Letter of Intent holders. Lessees having annual excavation plan of 1 million tonne or more or having leased area of 50 hectare or more are required to submit drone survey images of leased area and up to 100 meters outside the lease boundary every year. Other lessees to submit high resolution satellite images. This step will not only improve mine planning practices, security and safety in the mines but also ensure better supervision of mining operations.

(iii) Requirement of submitting satellite images obtained from CARTOSAT-2 satellite LISS-IV sensor on the scale of cadastral map deleted in view of the insertion of provision for submission of high resolution Georeferenced Ortho-rectified Multispectral satellite and use of drone survey as per Rule 34A.

(iv) Provision of daily return omitted to reduce compliance burden. Power of taking action against incomplete or wrong or false information in monthly or annual returns given to IBM, in addition to State Govt.

(v) Allowed engagement of a part-time mining engineer or a part-time geologist for category ‘A’ mines having leased area below 25 hectares. This will ease compliance burden for small miners.

(vi) In order to increase employment opportunity, diploma in mining and mine surveying granted by duly recognized institute along with a second class certificate of competency issued by the Director General of Mines Safety is added in qualification for full time Mining Engineer. Also, qualification for part time Mining Engineer added.

(vii) Penalty provisions in the rules have been rationalized. Previously, the rules provided for penalty of imprisonment upto 2 years or fine upto 5 lakh rupees or both for violation of each and every rule irrespective of the severity of the violation. Amendment in the rules categorized the violations of the rules under the following major heads:

  1. Major Violations: Penalty of imprisonment, fine or both.
  2. Minor Violations: Penalty reduced. Penalty of only fine for such violations prescribed.
  3. Violation of other rules has been decriminalized. These rules did not cast any significant obligation on the concession holder or any other person. Thus, violation of 24 rules has been decriminalized.

(viii) Provision of forfeiture of financial assurance or performance security of the lease holder added in case of non-submission of final mine closure plan within the period specified.

(ix) Amount of financial assurance increased to five lakh rupees for Category ‘A’ mines and three lakh rupees for Category ‘B’ mines from existing three and two lakh rupees, respectively.

Notification of the Amendment Rule is available in the website of Ministry of Mines (www.mines.gov.in).

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External Audit of Mines made mandatory –

The Department of Mines has made external mandatory in addition to statutory inspection by state agencies and Indian Bureau of mines.

A meeting was recently held at the ministry of mines with all states to discuss the issues following the newly passed mining ordinance and sharing of best practices for overall mineral development and regulation in the country between the states and the centre.

This appointment of external auditors follows the issue of periodicity of inspections by the or State government.

It could be mentioned that the government recently notified 31 minerals as “minor” minerals and the entire regulation of these 31 minerals will be with the state governments.

In the meeting, the state governments have suggested that conservation and development of minerals in the first schedule, that is major minerals and notified minerals like iron ore, bauxite etc in the fourth schedule should be delegated to Indian Bureau of Mines and the States can be vested with the responsibility to look after development of remaining minerals, according to official sources.

In the meeting the State government of Kerala presented the legal framework and the auction scheme prepared for allotment of iron ore (category C) for the auction of 15 mines while the ministry asked the states to expedite the process of furnishing the list of non working mines.

One major issue which has raised considerable discontentment among the states, according to official sources, is the mandate of the ordinance requiring them to extend the tenure of the leases of those mines where the mineral is used for captive purpose or where the lease commenced before the commencement of Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Amendment Ordinance 2015 even if the mineral is used for other than captive purpose.

According to states a major hurdle in this requirement is stamp duty. The centre in this regard assured the states that any action taken by the states in this regard owing to imposition of for extension of the lease should not impose any hindrance.

In fact the centre has assured that in order to expedite such renewals, the extension of environmental and forest clearances for such extension of leases has already been taken up with the ministry of environment.

Another issue that is posing difficulty, as per states, in implementing the concept of mineralisation as precondition to exploration is lack of data and information.

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