The recently passed Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020 allows companies that do not possess any prior coal mining experience to engage in mining projects, as well as those that are not ‘engaged in specified end-use.’ This expands the mining industry exponentially, permitting mining for several purposes including sale, own-consumption or any other purpose that may be specified by the Central Government.

In line with the objective of promoting industrial development at all costs, the Draft EIA Notification also aims to dilute norms related to Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Clearances. Coal and non-coal mineral prospecting is one of the many types of activities that have been exempted from requiring a prior environmental clearance.