The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its meeting held on October 23-24 has decided to defer the environment clearance for diamond mining in Panna to the state-owned miner National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). The EAC has reportedly received a complaint highlighting the site’s proximity to a tiger reserve as well as a wildlife corridor.
The EAC observed that “The mine exists abutting the Panna Tiger Reserve and the mine also falls under the Buxwaha Protected Forest it is forest forms part of the wildlife corridor between Panna Tiger Reserve and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary”. The committee has asked the Ministry to examine the issues.
The NMDC had acquired the mining rights of Majhgawan Diamond Mine and a supplementary section till 2020 under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 1994. However, it had to approach the Environment ministry again as a Supreme Court ruling in April 2018 stated that mining projects which got environmental clearance in 1994 are required to obtain the green clearance under the EIA Notification, 2006.
Considering the area’s proximity to the Panna Tiger Reserve, the EAC 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 Committee has now directed the Environment ministry to examine the issues and send details before the project be considered for approval.