India launches space technology to tackle illegal mining – by Sharon Masige (Australian Mining – April 12, 2016)

Rising levels of illegal mining in India is seeing the government implement space technologies in an effort combat the issue. Each state was also asked to gather information on past illegal mining activities and methods used to check them.

According to the Economic Times, Balvinder Kumar, India’s mines secretary, said mapping of mines by satellite will begin with major metals such as gold and iron ore, gradually expanding to include sand and limestone – where the problem is more prevalent.

In September 2015 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the use of space technology to prevent illegal mining activities. “Once fully implemented, the move will bring about transformation in the Indian mining industry. We have identified large chunks of illegal mining in many areas,” Kumar said.

“It is rampant in case of minor minerals like limestone and sand in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana. We will ask states to quantify losses due to illegal mine activities and explain their position to us.”

Kumar said that satellite mapping will be used over approximately 4000 mines focusing on metals like copper, bauxite, nickel, zinc, and manganese over the next three months. With this method, GPS enabled mining plans will be overlaid with digitised revenue maps of each mine collecting satellite images of the blocks each month and their changes, allowing for the pinpointing of any illegal activities within 500 meters of the mines’ boundary.

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