Mining has been a critical economic activity since pre-historic times and is closely linked with the development of human civilisation. In the modern world, mining has become central to the industrial progress of nations.
India is a resource-rich country and mineral deposits are found over 17 per cent of the geographic area of the nation. However, the mining of major minerals is spread over only around 3.258 lakh hectares as per the annual report of the Ministry of Mines for 2020.
The growth of industries is linked to the efficiency of our mining operations. The progress in the production of steel, automobiles, the shipping industry, the railways and ports and so on, is directly linked to the productivity of the mining sector. Besides bringing economic progress mining provides employment to a large number of unorganised sector workers and the rural population. It provides direct employment to over one crore people and helps more than five crore earn their livelihood.
However, there are negative impacts of mining as it destroys the soil, causes severe environmental damage and pollutes the water bodies and rivers and adjoining agricultural fields.
The mineral extraction operations have been in the eye of a storm for decades as environmentalists have accused the mining companies of illegal prospecting.