South Asia updatePublished by MAC on 2007-05-12
South Asia update
12th May 2007
Although it seems that certain aspects of the interim Bangladesh government's national coal policy may now be improved upon - noably a reduction in exports and increase in royalties - the question of "how to mine" remains. Global Coal Management (formerly Asia Energy), the UK company behind the widley-condemned Phulbari coal project, maintains that open-pit extraction is the only viable method. But many Bangladeshis vehemently disagree (and six of them laid down their lives while expressing such dissent last year.)
In a lucid comparison of the socio-environmental impacts of underground and open-pit mining, Professor Badrul Islam of Dhaka University's Department of Geology concludes that both technologies pose potentially insuperable problems - especially if coal extraction is to be conducted at the pace currently proposed.
Another lengthy examination of mining's impacts - this time of iron ore in the Indian state of Goa - graphically demonstrates how regulations are consistenlty flouted, not just by "illegal" operators but also major companies, like Jindal.