Coal mines to get automatic nod for first expansion

In an attempt to fast-track coal production, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has decided to allow companies with mining leases to expand production by 25% over the initially approved plan, without having to secure a fresh environment clearance (EC) from the ministry. The move will help companies avoid the cumbersome process of getting EC approvals — which includes public hearings that may take up to three years — for their first expansion. For subsequent expansions, however, a new EC will be required.

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