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  Rat hole mining

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: Live Mint

 Context: In the rescue operations for the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, rat miners played a crucial role in completing the drilling process.

  • Rat-hole mining, a method of manual drilling common in Meghalaya, involves skilled workers digging narrow pits just wide enough for one person.
  • The term “rat hole” refers to these pits used to extract coal. This method is hazardous, illegal in many countries due to safety concerns, and has faced criticism for its environmental impact.
  • Rat-hole mining has faced criticism for its hazardous conditions, environmental damage, and accidents leading to injuries and fatalities.
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned the practice in 2014 and retained the ban in 2015 due to safety concerns and environmental impact.

Other methods, such as vertical drilling and auger mining, were also employed in the rescue operations, highlighting the diverse techniques used to address complex situations.