How to be a goldminer in India?
There is no doubt that the mining boom is booming.
According to data provided by Mining and Minerals Association of India (MMAI), the number of gold miners in the country has reached nearly 40 lakh.
In 2016, the country had about 2.9 crore gold miners.
It is the second-biggest gold-mining country in the subcontinent after China.
However, the industry is facing various challenges.
A lot of mines are going into decline.
It has to do with the increased pollution, the poor quality of mines and also the lack of a proper regulatory framework, says Deepak Kumar, founder of the Gold Mining and Exploration Centre of India, a group that researches and advocates for gold mining in India.
The government is also in a dire situation.
In 2019, it gave permission to the mining sector to operate in two areas in the national capital, Delhi.
The second one, near the National Highway 6, is in the heart of the gold-rich city.
This is where the mines are being made.
“There are about 20 mines in the area.
The Government is looking for a solution.
So far, there are no decisions in this regard,” says Kumar.
However the government is in talks with the mining industry.
It wants to see a set of laws that will ensure the safety of mines.
The government has also asked all companies to keep a record of all their employees.
“The Government is not keen on the idea of introducing such a requirement.
The mining industry has already shown that it will take any measures to save the mines,” says Deepika Prasad, an expert on the environment and natural resources at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Gold is also found in the soil of the state, where it is used as fertilizer and as a feedstock for fertilisers.
There are also reports that gold is being sold in neighbouring states, particularly Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
A report from the National Institute of Minerals and Metallurgy (NIIM) has said that gold prices have risen significantly in these states since the beginning of this year.
However there are also problems with the regulation of gold mines.
“They are in an extremely difficult situation, because of the lack (of regulatory framework) in these areas,” says Prasat, referring to mining and minerals.
“It is very hard to get a license for a mine if you do not have a licence from the Ministry of Mines.
So, the mines can go on producing.
And they will have to pay a lot of taxes.
The Ministry of Minerives has no powers to regulate gold mining,” says the report.
The ministry is also yet to make any decisions on the licences for gold mines in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the industries are also located.
The state has a high rate of unemployment, according to a report by the National Commission for Economic Reforms (NCER) which has said the unemployment rate in Uttar, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh is around 30 per cent, which is higher than the national average.