Adopt sustainable mining practices: President
New Delhi : The exploitation of natural resources should be undertaken keeping in mind the threat of natural and manmade disasters, President Pranab Mukherjee today said as he underlined that mankind’s sustenance depends on the adoption of environmentally sustainable mining practices.
“We cannot imagine our world today without the use of natural resources. Availability and use of minerals in any country have been factors determining self-sufficiency of its economy,” he said.
“At the same time, we must understand that sustenance of mankind depends only on environmentally sustainable mining practices,” he said at the National Geoscience Awards-2014 event here.
Natural resources have to be explored, extracted, refined and processed for use in national building, Mukherjee said, adding, however, that “our effort to use our natural resources should be informed by the dangers of natural and manmade disasters”.
He told scientists at the function that they “have the responsibility to create greater awareness about the importance of conservation and sustainability”.
The President said the exploration of mineral resources in the country requires a “greater thrust and an even greater caution”.
“As the search for the near-surface deposits have reached a point of saturation, geoscientists in the country now face the crucial challenge of finding deep-seated and concealed mineral resources,” he said.
There is a need to focus on exploration of offshore mineral resources which hold enormous potential for supplementing the increasing needs of the country, he said.
“Similarly, it is also important to find strategic and rare earth elements to support space and information technology missions to ensure self-reliance in these fields. However, all of this needs to be accomplished with the environmental sustainability concern in mind,” Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee said hazard profiles have changed dramatically in recent years due to transformation in both our perception of geological hazards with long recurrence times as well as the actual changes driven by climate change.
“The potential consequences are also changing rapidly. The rising population and urbanisation is leading to increased concentration of vulnerable people in areas exposed to natural hazards.
“Geoscientists have to respond to challenges by devising new, actionable strategies to increase the resilience of the vulnerable communities to natural disasters and risks related to climate change,” he said.
The President also raised concerns about water stress in the country.
“Large parts of the country have already become water stressed. Given the limits on enhancing the availability of utilisable water resources and increased variability in supply due to climate change, meeting the future needs will depend more on demand management. Therefore, a holistic and inter- disciplinary approach to water-related problems is required,” he said.
Besides, Ashok Kumar Singhvi, who received the Award For Excellence and Indra Sekhar Sen Young Scientist Award, 31 other geological scientists were awarded for their contribution to the field.
National Geoscience Awards was instituted by the Ministry of Mines in 1966 to honour individuals and teams of scientists for their extraordinary achievements and outstanding contributions to fundamental and applied geosciences and mining and allied fields.
The National Geoscience Awards includes one Award for Excellence, one Young Scientist Award and nineteen individual and/or team awards in 16 geoscience fields.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of State for Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai.