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Open Cast Mine in Jharkhand Continues to be a Death Trap


Open Cast Mine: Relevance

  • GS 2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Open Cast Mine: Context

  • Recently, five persons were found dead in Jharkhand after part of an open cast coal mine caved in, in Dhanbad district.


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Open Cast Mine in Jharkhand: What has happened?

  • Official said that some persons from nearby villagers had illegally entered the open cast mine located at the Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL).
  • Later, a part of the overburdened area of the mine caved in, and four bodies were found at the spot.
  • The incident has once again open up debate on improving the security at mines so that poor people don’t risk their lives.


UPSC Current Affairs


What is open cast mining?

  • Open cast mining is a traditional ‘cone-shaped’ excavation that is done for surface mining of coal. This type of mining does not deep shafts.
  • Open cast mining differs from extractive methods that require tunnelling into the earth, such as long wall mining.
  • Open-pit mines are used when deposits of commercially useful minerals or rocks are found near the surface.
  • For minerals that occur deep below the surface, underground mining methods extract the valued material.


National Coal Gasification Mission


Open Cast Mine in Jharkhand: Reasons

  • Poverty: The poor people, in a hope of earning money and sustaining their livelihood, risk their lives for a few sack of free coal.
  • Security lapse: Open cast mining is not a well-guarded perimeter and trespassing is common in these areas. Also, due to overlapping of jurisdiction of local laws and CISF, coordination takes a hit.
  • Nexus: Dhanbad is infamous for illegal quarrying of coal from abandoned. It has been going on for many years in complicity with coal mafias, police and politicians.


UPSC Current Affairs


Impact of open cast mining on environment

  • Open-cast mining changes geological, hydrological and geotechnical conditions.
  • It influences the existing ecological system and landscape.
  • The dust and noise affect not only the atmosphere and soil, but also the whole human living space in the exploited territories.
  • Open-pit mines create a significant amount of waste. Almost one million tons of ore and waste rock can move from the largest mines per day, and a couple thousand tons moved from small mines per day.

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