Samarendra Das and Felix Padel examine the destructive nature of bauxite mining, including the impact of Vedanta’s operations in Orissa.
Bauxite mining excavates a huge surface area, and has caused environmental devastation in Jamaica, Guinea, Australia, India and recently also in Vietnam.
Perhaps no bauxite deposits are located in more sensitive areas than those in India, whose most significant deposits occur as cappings on the biggest mountains in south Orissa and north Andhra Pradesh. Tribal people live in hundreds of communities around these mountains, which they regard as sacred entities for the fertility they promote. Appropriately, the base rock of these mountains was named ‘Khondalite’ after the region’s predominant tribe, the Konds. Early geologists noticed the perennial streams flowing from these mountains, and modern evidence suggests that their water regime is severely damaged when the bauxite cappings are mined.