The Government has decided to weed out rat hole miners and protect good private players. This declaration made by the Economic Ministry was reflected by Kuensel in its front page Mining story on 4th November,2014.
It's now out in black and white. This Government will protect the rich resources of the powerful Private Mining Corporations and will nationalize small private mining enterprises
Several large Mining Corporations face closure of their lucrative Mines with the expiry of their leases. So the Government has come up with this State Mining idea to over ride the concerns of the Dzongkhags and renew the Mining Leases of the large Mining Corporations. If renewal is warranted why not just do it instead of obscuring the process through the grand delusion of State Mining Corporation. The proposal guarantees total leeway to large Private Mining Companies by removing even the present small scale competitors and circumventing the policy of local governments.
If nationalization was done without exception or segregation into so termed Good Private Players and Rat Hole Miners, one would be tempted to think that the national leadership is serious about enabling all Bhutanese to share national wealth from mining minerals in a sustainable manner. But this policy to encourage large private mining enterprises to go ahead and terminate the leases of small mining parties simply highlights the trend of the affluent trampling over the lower rug of the society. Such national scale corruption cannot be controlled by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Please do not compare income from sale of minerals with that of electricity. The investment in hydro- Projects are highly inflated by system corruption and the export price is dictated by India. Water used for producing electricity simply will flow away to the Bay of Bengal even if not harnessed. Bhutan cannot retain river water so advisable to beneficially use it on its way out of the Country. Also water comes from snow and rain and protecting our hills instead of demolishing for onetime export of minerals would preserve our water sources. Large scale mining will cause environmental degradation that the young Himalayan eco-structure cannot endure. The southern part of Bhutan is already sinking in many areas and major land slides occur every year. Mining will make such natural disasters more prevalent. Major mining activities in the north will destroy the rain catchment hill ranges and cause water shortages not just for hydro- projects but for irrigation and sanitation and drinking water supply.
It is a pity that for all the talks of future of the Nation as a whole, the policies expounded are for benefitting few to reap ill gotten wealth from monopoly of exploiting national mineral resources. The selfish greed of the few could cause national grief for the majority if not wisely restrained.