Comments / Suggestions on the Draft Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 2019

Our comments / Suggestions on the draft Metalliferous Mines and Regulation, 2019 sent to Ministry of Mines is given below for our members knowledge.

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To                                                                                                                    11.03.2020

Under Secretary to the Government of India, ISH-II

Ministry of Labour and Employment

Government of India                                                              Speed Post with A/D

Shram Shakti Bhawan, Rafi Marg

New Delhi – 110001.

Sub : Comments / Suggestions on the Draft Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 2019.

We are a Registered Organization of Southern Regional Mines and Mineral based Workers Welfare Association. Please visit our website http://www.southernmines.org/.

The Draft Metalliferous Mines Regulation, 2019 was notified by the Ministry of Labour and Employment vide Extraordinary Gazette Notification G.S.R. 138(E) Dt. 20.02.2020, inviting any objections or suggestions, if any.

In Tamilnadu, natural occurrence of heavy minerals is found in the rocks of Western Ghats. Several Millions of years ago, by natural weathering process, these heavy minerals were get disintegrated into sand and get carried away by major streams and rivers to the Sea. Once again, due to tidal action and wind action, these heavy minerals (beach washings sand – Garnet, Ilmenite, Rutile etc.) were get accumulated along the sea shores of southern districts of Tamilnadu.

To develop these rain shadow region, the then political leaders took necessary steps and brought the Mineral Industries with the grant of Beach Sand mining leases. By this Industry development, thousands of poor families were get benefited and got employment opportunities. Meantime to overcome the hurdles of these workers, this Association was formed during the year 1994 and got registered under Regn. No. 3/95 Dt. 11.01.1995.

Our Beach sand mining is very easy & uncomplicated method of mining and much simpler than agricultural process. Unlike underground mining or opencast mining, Beach Mineral Mining or Placer Mining involves scooping of placer deposits by using spades and baskets. Thus our mining activities are carried out manually and without any drilling & blasting and without any heavy machinery.

  1. Prospecting & Exploration – These are placer deposit’s mineralisation is up to shallow depth only and sandy deposit without any hard rocks. Exploration is mainly done with simple manual drilling by Auger Drill/ Conrad Bunka Drill.
  2. Overburden or Top soil – The heavy mineral sand occurs right from the surface and entire strata is considered as deposit. Hence, no overburden or topsoil is applicable for this deposit.
  3. Mining – As these beach placer deposit comprises of only loose sand, carried out by manually. Also, no drilling and blasting is involved.
  4. Depth of Mining – Beach deposits are just mined by scrapping and scooping for hardly 30 to 50 cm depth only. As mining is carried out in shallow depth, this opencast mines does not involve or require any benching system also.
  5. Reclamation & Restoration – Beach deposit does not require any refilling activity, since 30-50 cm depth pits are automatically get filled with sand, due to continuous wave and wind action.

 

Due to the above reasons and as the posts of Mines Foreman and Mining Mate are governed by Metalliferrous Mines Regulation, 1961, our Association moved to the High Court of Madras vide W.P. No. 33661 of 2002 and sought for exemption from possessing blasting experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman/ Mining Mate Examination. Whereas, the Board of Mining Examinations contended that, although the regulation 18 is silent about blasting experience and they have power to make bye-laws, according to the regulation 13(4). On careful examination of records, the High Court has passed the Order Dt. 06.04.2010 (Copy enclosed as Annexure – I) and has directed the Board of Mining Examinations to seriously consider the introduction of amendment to the byelaw prescribing necessary experience/ training of the candidates for the examination of Mines Foreman and Mining Mate restricted to Placer Mining or Beach Mineral Mining operations only. The Board of Mining Examinations are also directed to permit the members of our Association to sit for the Examination in Mine Foreman and Mining Mate to be held in future without insisting upon any experience/ training in blasting or shot firing and to issue certificates to the successful Mine Foreman and Mining Mate restricted to Placer Mining or Beach Mineral Mining operations only.

In response to the Madras High Court Order Dt. 06.04.2010, the Board of Mining Examinations moved to the Madras High Court and made Appeal vide W.A. No. 2290 of 2010, against the Madras High Court Order Dt. 06.04.2010. But the Madras High Court has dismissed the W.A. No. 2290 of 2010 and the details are elaborated in the next paragraph.

In addition, our Association has also filed W.P. No. 9543 of 2013 in Madras High Court, seeking a declaration, to declare the “Bye law conduct of Examination and Grant of Mining Mate Certificate of Competency issued by the Board of Mining Examinations as null and void and ultra vires of the MMR, 1961”. On careful examination of records, the High of Madras has ordered vide Order Dt. 12.07.2013 (Copy enclosed as Annexure – II) and once again the High Court has admitted that Mining Foreman and Mining Mate posts do not require any blasting experience. Also in the Order the Madras High Court has dismissed the W.A. No. 2290 of 2010 and has closed all connected M.Ps.

Once again the Board of Mining Examinations has moved to the Supreme Court, against the High Court Order Dt. 12.07.2013, vide Special Leave to Appeal No. 9508 of 2014. After hearing the case, the Supreme Court made Order Dt. 24.11.2014 (Copy enclosed as Annexure – III), by dismissing Special Leave to Appeal No. 9508 of 2014.

From the above it is clearly evident that the Mining Foreman and the Mining Mate posts do not require any blasting experience and the Bye laws framed were become null and void and ultra vires of the MMR, 1961.

In the meantime, the Board of Mining Examinations was kind enough to obey the Court Orders and our association members were allowed to participate in the Mining Foreman and Mining Mates Examination, without any blasting experience.

Whereas, now strangely the Ministry of Labour and Employment has made Extra Ordinary Notification vide G.S.R. 138(E) Dt. 20.02.2020, published the Draft Metalliferous Mines Regulation, 2019, which is totally violating the both Supreme Court Verdict and Madras High Court Verdicts.

In our case, already the Supreme Court has sincerely considered our emotional prayers and has passed an Order stating that the Mining Foreman and the Mining Mate Posts do not require, any Blasting Experience. Thus we Beach Mineral Workers were already allowed to participate in the Mining Foreman and the Mining Mate Examinations, without any Blasting Experience.

 

Whereas, the new Draft Metalliferous Mines Regulation, 2019 is not in line with the above Court Orders and totally deviating & violating the verdict of the Court Orders.

In view of the above, we the Beach Sand Mining workers who are involved in Easy and Uncomplicated Mining shall be exempted from possessing of blasting experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman’s/ Mine Mate’s Examination and the same clause shall be suitably incorporated in the New Metalliferous Mines Regulation.

Thus we have expressed our objections as above. And following are our Suggestions towards the Draft Metalliferous Mines Regulation, 2019 published by the Ministry of Labour and Employment vide G.S.R. 138(E) Dt. 20.02.2020.

We kindly request the concerned Authority to render justice, by incorporating the following Amendments in the New MMR and failing which the same shall be amount to Contempt of Court.

 

Sl. No. Chapter No./ Regulation No. As proposed in the Draft MMR, 2019 Proposed Amendments suggested by us Explanation/ Justification
1 III/ 17(2) The Board may specify, subject to the conditions laid down in bye-laws, the nature and other details of the practical experience required for Mine Foreman’s Certificate. Suitable Amendments shall be incorporated in the regulation to facilitate, the Beach Sand Mining workers from possessing of Blasting Experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman’s Examination, to obtain Mine Foreman’s Certificate of Competency. 1. In accordance with the Honourable Supreme Court Order Dt. 24.11.2014 passed against the special leave appeal 9508/ 2014 and WA No. 2290/ 2010 (Appeal made in Madras High Court), the Beach Sand Mining workers shall be exempted from possessing of blasting experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman’s/ Mine Mate’s Examination.

2. In accordance with the Honourable High Court of Madras Order Dt. 12.07.2013, in which the Court has admitted that Mining Foreman and Mining Mate posts do not require any blasting experience.

3. In accordance with the Honourable High Court of Madras Order Dt. 06.04.2010, in which the court has directed to permit the members of our Association to sit for the Examination in Mine Foreman and Mining Mate to be held in future without insisting upon any experience/ training in blasting or shot firing and to issue certificates to the successful Mine Foreman and Mining Mate restricted to Placer Mining or Beach Mineral Mining operations only.

2 III/ 18(3) The Board may specify, subject to the conditions laid down in bye-laws, the nature and other details of the practical experience required for Mining Mate’s and Blaster’s Certificate. Suitable Amendments shall be incorporated in the regulation to facilitate, the Beach Sand Mining workers from possessing of Blasting Experience certificates to appear for Mine Mate’s Examination, to obtain Mine Mate’s Certificate of Competency. 1. In accordance with the Honourable Supreme Court Order Dt. 24.11.2014 passed against the special leave appeal 9508/ 2014 and WA No. 2290/ 2010 (Appeal made in Madras High Court), the Beach Sand Mining workers shall be exempted from possessing of blasting experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman’s/ Mine Mate’s Examination.

2. In accordance with the Honourable High Court of Madras Order Dt. 12.07.2013, in which the Court has admitted that Mining Foreman and Mining Mate posts do not require any blasting experience.

3. In accordance with the Honourable High Court of Madras Order Dt. 06.04.2010, in which the court has directed to permit the members of our Association to sit for the Examination in Mine Foreman and Mining Mate to be held in future without insisting upon any experience/ training in blasting or shot firing and to issue certificates to the successful Mine Foreman and Mining Mate restricted to Placer Mining or Beach Mineral Mining operations only.

3 III/ 12(4) The Board may make bye-laws as to the procedure for, and the conduct of the examinations and as to the granting of

certificates of competency and of fitness as required under these regulations, and shall so far as may be practicable,

provide that the standard of knowledge required for the grant of certificates of any particular class and the standard of

medical fitness shall be uniform throughout the territories to which these regulations extend:

Provided that the Board may take decision on any matter, not specified under the bye-laws, which may be

brought to it for disposal.

Suitable Amendments shall be incorporated in the regulation to facilitate, the Beach Sand Mining workers from possessing of Blasting Experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman’s/ Mine Mate’s Examination, to obtain Mine Foreman’s/ Mine Mate’s Certificate of Competency. 1. In accordance with the Honourable Supreme Court Order Dt. 24.11.2014 passed against the special leave appeal 9508/ 2014 and WA No. 2290/ 2010 (Appeal made in Madras High Court), the Beach Sand Mining workers shall be exempted from possessing of blasting experience certificates to appear for Mine Foreman’s/ Mine Mate’s Examination.

2. In accordance with the Honourable High Court of Madras Order Dt. 12.07.2013, in which the Court has admitted that Mining Foreman and Mining Mate posts do not require any blasting experience.

3. In accordance with the Honourable High Court of Madras Order Dt. 06.04.2010, in which the court has directed to permit the members of our Association to sit for the Examination in Mine Foreman and Mining Mate to be held in future without insisting upon any experience/ training in blasting or shot firing and to issue certificates to the successful Mine Foreman and Mining Mate restricted to Placer Mining or Beach Mineral Mining operations only.

In view of the above, we request you to kindly incorporate the above Amendments in the proposed Metalliferous Mines Regulations and if our suggestions are not fulfilled, that may amount to Contempt of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court.

Thanking You,

(R. Balakrishnan)

President      

        

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