There are number of environmental laws and regulations with direct relevance to the exploration and development of mineral sands, including The Environment Conservation Act, 1995. The enforcement of this statute is guided by the rules and regulations of The Environment Conservation Rules, 1997. The Rules specify the powers and functions of the DoE, and the responsibilities of industries to ensure ecosystem integrity.
ECC- Environment clearance certificate:
Any proponent planning of an industrial project requires an “Environmental Clearance Certificate” from the Department of Environment (DoE).In Bangladesh the environmental clearance procedure passes through three tiers:
- Initial Environmental Examination (IEE)
- Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Bangladesh follows a screening process in which industries have been divided into four categories: Green, Orange A, Orange B and Red. While industries under Green and Orange A categories are not required to undertake IEE or EIA studies, those under Orange B require an IEE. Red category projects (which include all exploration and mining projects) are required to undertake both IEE and EIA.
Initial Environmental Examination (IEE):
An IEE involves identification of the project’s key impacts on environment, evolution of their importance, recommendation of mitigation measures and listing of issues that remain unresolved and warrant a further and more detailed environmental examination.
The DOE recommends the following steps for undertaking an IEE:
- Collection of baseline information related to the project and the environmental setting of the project site.
- Setting of boundaries of an IEE identifying the significant issues.
- Impact assessment, suggesting mitigation measures, EMP’s alternative sites or other project modifications.
- Preparation of IEE Report for submission to the DOE.
- Review of the report by DOE
In Bangladesh a proposed mineral sand mining project is required to submit a project feasibility report along with the IEE Report. Also needed are the proposed terms of reference (ToR) for EIA. After reviewing these documents the DoE finalizes the ToR which is then used by the project proponent to undertake the EIA.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):
The EIA study should be focused on addressing the issues which remained unresolved during the IEE exercise. The steps recommended by the DOE for conducting an EIA are:
- Baseline studies
- Impact identification
- Impact prediction
- Impact Evaluation
- Mitigative measures
- Monitoring programme
- Special studies, if applicable, such as risk analysis, resettlement and rehabilitation studies, compensatory afforestation, severance studies etc.
- Documentation & communication.
Environmental Management Plan (EMP):
In order to promote effective environmental management throughout the life-cycle of a project, it is therefore important that the management actions arising from EIAs are clearly defined and translated into an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to ensure that avoidable adverse impacts for the design, construction, operation and/or decommissioning phases of a project are prevented, and that the positive benefits of the projects are enhanced.