Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Possiblity of sustainable mining

Talks about sustainable mining are in the air. I have been confronted on this matter on various times after mining companies decided to claim their mining practices as 'sustainable mining' with no indicators or definitions. What is sustainable in existing mining practices in Goa?

Ground water continues to be depleted all over the State of Goa in mining belt. So in the case of water mining in Goa is not sustainable.

Agriculture continues to be badly ravaged due to mining and its overburden - silt. It has done away with sustainability of agriculture. So in terms of food security it is totally unsustainable.

Mining continuously plays havoc with Goa's forest. Forest department officials in Goa play role of mining company agents and not only tolerate mining intrusion into the forest, it actively advocates it as was done Goa's Chief Conservator of Forest Shashi Kumar at one of the Wildlife Board meetings in Delhi when he advocated mining in the buffer zone of sanctuaries in Goa. So for forest mining is unsustainable.

These is only one remote possibility of mining becoming sustainable. If it is carried on without machinery. It is machinery that is deployed that is deeply enslaving to human beings as well as ecology. Let human hands work in mines and it would be sustainable. This is so because it is naturally puts limits on the depth of the mine. it will never touch - 40 meters as in Sirgao, Bicholim. Without machines mines will never cause any significant damage to ecology and to water table - the twin concerns of the protesting communities.

I hope political leaders in the Goa Legislative Assembly takes note of this as they have been advocating sustainable mining to the people in mining belt without caring to understand what sustainability means at the first place. Mining without involvement of machinery is sustainable mining.

Sebastian Rodrigues

No comments: