SMI provides a platform to mining companies for addressing sustainability concerns. The activities of SMI help mining companies to plan, grow and optimize their performance and manage various mining, environmental and regulatory issues for achieving a competitive, sustainable advantage. Some of the important activities of SMI include:
SMI undertakes sustainability review/audits for mines, with an objective
- To review the environmental, social, health & safety performance of mines (both from compliance as well as a sustainability perspective)
- To suggest measures for achieving higher Star Rating based on SMI’s expertise and engagement in implementing SDF and Star Rating Scheme
- To help individual mines identify critical areas, comply with the statutes, enhance business performance and manage key risks
- To leverage on opportunities and improve sustainability performance
Till date, SMI has completed more than 75 sustainability reviews and 8 safety reviews for mines belonging to prominent companies such as ACC, Adani Enterprises Ltd., Ambuja Cement, Golcha Associated group, BALCO, HZL, NALCO, NMDC, Vedanta, Mysore Minerals Ltd., UltraTech Cement, Wolkem Industries Ltd., etc.
As part of its objective, SMI constantly monitors the advancements in the world so as to promote value-added solutions for sustainable growth of Indian mining industry. Recently, SMI has identified critical areas where drones can significantly add value for mining projects and attempted to bridge the demand-supply gap. To this end, SMI has entered into MoU with Meissa Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to address the need for drone- based survey and monitoring business, locational intelligence applications for mining industry.
Drones can easily survey large mining areas without disrupting operations, analyze the area and generate valuable insights for production planning, survey, compliance to DGMS and Environmental statutes, monitoring site activities, Land acquisition for greenfield projects, etc. Drones simultaneously capture geo-locations and imagery of the area from multiple view-points, which enable mine as well as top management to generate, infer, visualize and monitor the data generated.
SMI acts as a nodal agency and constantly collaborates with mining companies, think- tanks and regulators. It also engages with various international bodies such as ICMM, IUCN, WB, IFC, PDAC, Minerals Council of Australia, etc. on development of sustainable mining, which enables SMI to improve networking and share information on international best practices. SMI also gathers information from GRI, UNEP, WEF, EITI, etc. and disseminates information to its members.
In order to motivate and recognize the efforts of the Indian mining industry for having addressed various sustainability challenges through exemplary ways, SMI, on behalf of FIMI, administers annual awards to different mines under various categories
Excellence Award - 1 - Mining Sustainability Award – 1 - Environment Awards – 4 - Social Awareness Awards - 2 - Health & Safety Awards - 2
The Awards and the assessment process is overseen by a distinguished Jury comprising of national experts. The Awards help in benchmarking the excellent standards adopted by the mining industry and in spreading the message of sustainable mining among the members.
SMI has a core group comprising of industry leaders improving the image of the mining industry. The group helps in guiding SMI’s strategy for brand building and engagement with key stakeholders including Government, media and civil societies.
SMI has brought out a number of publications to help members in their mission towards sustainable mining. These include.
- SMI Guide – A Framework for Sustainable Mining
- Environment & CSR in Mining : Highlights the exemplary efforts of mining industry in environmental management and socio-economic development.
- Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980: Rules, Guidelines & Clarifications – A Compilation
- Law and Procedures for Environmental Clearances of Developmental Projects – A Compilation
- The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Rules, Guidelines and Clarifications – A Compilation
SMI assists companies to tackle the regulatory challenges w.r.t. mining, environmental and other laws and regulations. To this end, SMI works with Governments, regulatory agencies and other organizations to identify and advocate for reforms in all laws and regulations applicable to mining industry –
- to remove contradictions, overlaps and duplications within various regulations
- to simplify and integrate various laws/provisions
- to make the regulations easy to comply and enforce and to build elements of sustainability
As an integral part of the National Committee on Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) – Roll Out Strategy, FIMI-SMI played an integral role in formulating and finalizing the Star Rating Scheme for mines. This Scheme is a first of its kind to objectively and transparently evaluate the sustainability performance of a mine, wherein each major mineral mine is assigned a star rating varying from 1 to 5. FIMI-SMI was instrumental in designing the evaluation template, organizing Stakeholder Consultation Workshop as well as representing the industry at the Committee.
The Ministry of Mines has particularly recognized FIMI-SMI’s pivotal role in roll-out of the Star Rating Scheme and appreciated its efforts and capacity in mainstreaming sustainability in Indian mining sector. FIMI-SMI is now part of the 5-member Executive Committee constituted by Ministry of Mines to monitor the Star Rating Scheme across India.
SMI undertakes comprehensive study assignments to assess the impact of mining projects on the environment over a period (pre-mining to present condition) through satellite imageries. Objective of these studies is to identify and assess the impact of the mine on environment and its various components viz., green cover, air, water (ground as well as surface water), agriculture, noise, ground vibration, etc. Methodology involves study of Land Use Land Cover (LULC) change pattern using satellite imageries, field surveys, extensive primary and secondary data collection. SMI undertakes these environmental mapping studies for individual mines or for clusters at a regional level.
Taking cognizance of the unique ecology of Aravalli hills, heightened environmental awareness, history of litigations and absence of a regional assessment of impacts of mining on the Aravalli, SMI undertook a comprehensive scientific study titled “Strategic Assessment & Management Plan for mining in Aravalli range of Rajasthan". The study covered 15 districts of Rajasthan through which the Aravalli range is passing and aimed to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic impact of mining at both regional and local level through satellite imagery based Land Use Land Cover change over a decade and field-visit data.
This study is one of its kind to bring out the actual impacts of mining on environment, forest, desertification, ground water as well as the socio-economic impacts in the region.
SMI also undertakes research on various mining and policy issues to apprise the industry and regulators and create a consensus on how mining can contribute to sustainable development.
SMI organizes conferences and workshops around the country to promote sustainable mining. The events focus on updating stakeholders about legal requirements & compliance matters in mining projects, sustainable mining practices adopted in different parts of the world, other aspects of sustainable mining stakeholders’ engagement processes, social and environmental issues etc.
Annual Flagship Event - Sustainable Mining Summit in Goa (India): March / April
There is an Environment Committee comprising of 16 environmental and mining professionals representing SMI member companies and representatives of regional mining association. The EC meets regularly to deliberate on various national and state specific forest & environmental related issues, and take necessary action.
SMI has produced a series of films to create awareness about the importance of mining in everyday life and to highlight the good work done by Indian mining industry. These films are shared extensively via social media (Whatsapp, YouTube) and pendrives with Government, regulators, NGOs and general public to improve the public perception of mining.