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The Case Study of the Manganese Mines

Tiffany Sanders


In the case study evaluated in the text, Manganese Mines, there are many ethical
questions, concerns, and possible implications that arise. This particular case study examines the
manganese mines that are located in Dubna, India, as well as the workers and local tribes located
in and around the mining area. Furthermore, this case study examines the effects of the exposure
of those local people have abstained from living and working in the local area.

This particular mining operation is the most important manganese mine in the region,
according to the text. It produces just under 30% of the regions manganese (Wyss & Peppoloni,
2015). This justifies the fact that the population living near and working in or near the mines are
substantial in numbers. Because of the larger number of people present, the larger exposure is
likely to occur. This exposure (commonly called manganese toxicity), both quantity and length,
can be detrimental by way of long and short term adverse health effects to all members of the
community, both young and old (Wyss & Peppoloni, 2015).

This evidence of exposure and manganese toxicity leads to a large conglomeration of

ethical concerns and questions. The ultimate goal of any mining operation can be seen as to gain
as much monetary gain as possible, but when ethical practices come into play, this cannot always
be completed safely. The fragile balance between the two must be found, so that profits are
successful, and in an environmentally and health conscious way as possible. To go outside the
two would be deemed unsafe, and unethical.

This particular case study can be examined through a variety of lenses. There are many
things that could be done to keep the public safe. The case study expresses two main concerns,
the toxicity levels by way of water and direct exposure and the noise pollution associated with
this specific mining operation. Ways to decrease both of these concerns would be beneficial to
not only the public, but the operation and environment as well. While these two concerns are
specifically addressed for this specific case, the concerns could be problematic for any mining
operation, in both low income (as seen in the case study) and high income communities.

If these problems are addressed with a plausible solution in one mining operation, that
particular model (or parts of that particular model) could be applied to other mining operations
worldwide to make a safer environment for workers, the public near those mining operations,
and the environment.

Using case studies, such as the manganese mines in Dubna, to evaluate and examine
ethical issues that arise will give pressure to lawmakers and independent international safety
groups, such as the ISMSP (International Society of Mine Safety Professionals), to place
pressure onto law makers and regulators for more ethical and safe practices in and near mines
(ISMSP, 2017).

Balancing Human Needs and Environmental Factors

When analyzing the case study of the manganese mines in Dubna for balance of human
needs and environmental factors, you will find that there are factors on both, human needs and
environmental factors need to be evaluated. Tipping the scales in favor of one or the other only
complicates the balance, and could cause a vast amount of potential damage to either.

When looking at the environmental factor of location, it is evident that this particular type
of mining can only be done where the mineral is present. Mining manganese in places where it is
not in abundance could be construed as environmentally irresponsible. Dubna holds one of the
worlds richest areas in manganese. This area lies at the Bonai-Keonjhar belt, with the mine
being located at latitude 21 5404 and 21 5147 North and longitude 85 2137 and 85 2433
East (Wyss & Peppoloni, 2015). The environment in which the mineral is mined (near Bay of
Bengal, Indian Ocean), however, could potentially allow for greater erosion rates due to natural
processes. Additionally, influence of the active mining processes could affect the areas natural
ecosystems. This, in turn, could potentially affect wildlife habitats and vegetation populations
that could be directly related to erosional patterns.

Analysis of the project development for these environmental factors could include
environmentally safe mining practices. When research on specific practices for this particular
area was conducted, it was found that similar mining industry leaders, MOIL, carried out a mass
afforestation in efforts to combat both the natural erosional processes as well as the decrease in
ecosystem and vegetation health of the area (Indian Bureau of Mines, 2014). Similar
methodologies could be implicated in the Dubna mining areas. Such implications could also
influence certain instances of pollution control. In addition to afforestation methods such as dust
suppression majors, ecosystem monitoring, bio and land reclamation, and topsoil replenishment
and storage could also be utilized (Wyss & Peppoloni, 2015).

Human activities also influence the area in which the case study was conducted. While
natural processes, such as erosion, are happening, they can be precipitated at a much faster rate
with the assistance of both the mining processes and the activities of daily living from the
residents near the mining locations. Pollution, in addition to the previously mentioned pollution
resultant from the mining process itself in milestone one, is often a common occurrence from
these daily human activities as well. Water contamination, suspended air particles, and human
waste exposure are some of the pollutants found. One less commonly thought of impact of
human activities near mining sites could be the lack of being proactive. Not taking the
environmental effects into account can cause degradation of both the environment, but the
citizens who resides near these mining sites.

As this specific mining operation becomes more productive and permanent in its
residency in Dubna, certain human-environmental relationships form. Over time, the human and
environment relationship will teeter in favor of either human or environment. Once the human
factor of the relationship becomes dominant, the environmental factor suffers. This could include
overuse of the mines themselves, hazardous working conditions for the human factor, land and
ecosystem loss, amongst other negative environmental aspects. However, when the
environmental factor outweighs the human, negative impacts can be seen, as well. If too much
land and ecosystem reclamation is completed, then the mining operation becomes financially
insufficient, minerals are not mines as efficiently as they could be, and potentially hazardous
conditions exist for mine employees. Currently, per the case study found in Geosciences, the
human factor outweighs the environmental factor. Pollution is abundant, mine working
conditions are less than satisfactory, and negative biological implications can be seen in the
population living and working near the mines (Wyss & Peppoloni, 2015).

Understandably, in any business, the main focus is monetary gain. However, tradeoffs
must occur if the business will flourish, and mining operations are no different. Employees must
be healthy enough to be employed, but the mine still has to operate at a level of efficiency that
will make money. When evaluating environmental monitoring in the case study, and like
industries in the same region, major advances are being made. Safety practices are slowly being
placed into practice, environmental monitoring is on the up rise, and human effects are now
being noticed and studied, however, no definite solution has come into practice and the balance
is far from being equal.

Many avenues for a resolution can be taken, but the final resolution must fit within the
boundaries of balancing the human and environmental factor. The human factor must not suffer
for gain of the environmental factor, and vice versa. When analyzing the contributing factors
named above it can be concluded that locality cannot be changed in the near future, as there is a
flourishing resource of this mineral. The environment must not suffer by way of over mining,
ecosystem death, vegetation and wildlife habitat decline, and increased erosion rates. The human
factor must not suffer by way of public health, pollution exposure, or overuse of local resources.
In my opinion, one avenue for the most plausible avenue for an ethical resolution would be to
begin at the local level. Mining company leaders need to place emphasis on keeping a healthy
environment. Planting vegetation that is known to absorb dust particles and filter water would
greatly impact both the human and environmental factors positively. Additionally, ensuring that
measures are taken to reduce pollution levels (air, water, and noise), and provide appropriate
medical care to the citizens who have experienced prolonged exposures by way of employing
occupational physicians and support staff would also support the balance (Wyss & Peppoloni,

Informed Decision Making and Addressing Constraints

In this section the processes of decision making and addressing constraints within that
decision-making process will be discussed. With any decision-making process there are factors
to take into account. These factors, especially within the geosciences, could include that of the
environmental health, the health of the public, the stakeholders, as well as any legal or ethical
issues and concerns. Finding the delicate balance between all factors is a must for any geoscience
model to survive and thrive. For example, the case study of the manganese mines in Dubna,
India has many ethical and environmental violations that occur, but due to local mining laws
these are only starting to become factors of consideration.
When taking the consideration of the stake holders into account there is usually a main
agenda, monetary gain. Geoscience consultants are usually brought in to assist with the other
contributing factors. Five values must be considered when preparing proposals for the
stakeholders. These values are: justice, autonomy, privacy, beneficence, and non-maleficence
(Taylor, n.d.). What these values represent are the value of both the stakeholders, public, and
environment. When applying these to the case study, there are several of these values not
followed. Currently justice, autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence have not been
followed, as members of the public are being diagnosed with manganese poisoning without prior
knowledge of the dangers of living and working near the mines. Privacy is only semi followed,
as these individuals are being exposed for their diagnoses (Wyss & Peppaloni, 2015).

Information, such as that listed above should be included in information provided to the
stakeholders. Other information that should be included should come by way of GIS.
Information, or data containing files related to geographic data such as age, medium income,
education level, as well as living conditions could be provided, as well as geological data.
Mineral data, including that of reserve, propagated time to mine, and potential financial gain
information could be included.

To accurately convey the information researched, a number of methods could be utilized.

Presentation with visual aids (GIS maps, histograms, semivariograms) would be optimal due to
the ease of understanding in a short time-period. This also allows the stakeholder to spatially
relate the data to the operations area, as well as the immediate surrounding area.

With any project, large or small, there are constraints. Some of these constraints come in
the form of budget, time, legal issues, or ethical concerns. Both can be observed in the above
case study. Because stakeholders are looking to streamline the process for efficiency, geoscience
consultants should follow suit, all while maintaining the integrity of the code of ethics. Reserve
plans should be presented in the event that conflicts arise with the original proposal. According
to Irena and Stuckelberger (2013), Stakeholder identification, management and engagement are
key risk-mitigation tools. Simply put, communication is key. Another possible constraint would
be that of the indigenous people. Lands belonging to these people are usually protected and fall
under a different set of legal limitations. This brings into the light of possibly adding an
additional set of stakeholders (Irena & Suckelberger, 2013).

When discussing legal constraints or concerns, the case study seems to have many
unanswered questions. According to George, Raj, & Adani (2014), Under the Constitution, state
governments have been given powers under entry 23 of List II to regulate mines and the
development of minerals, subject to entry 54 of List I, which allows the central government to
exercise powers concerning the regulation of mines and the development of minerals to the
extent that such regulation and development is declared by the parliament to be in the public
interest. Apart from these entries, the state governments have been granted the power to impose
taxes on mineral rights under entry 50 of List II, and The holder of a reconnaissance permit
(RP), prospecting license (PL) or mining lease (ML) has the right to enter lands over which the
permit, lease or license has been granted and carry out all such operations as may be prescribed
(MMDR Act). The holder of a permit, license or lease is also liable to pay compensation in such
manner as may be prescribed for any loss that is likely to arise or has arisen from or in
consequence of its operations. The proceeding are legal regulations that have been reiterated in
2014. Simply put, while the stakeholders own the mine, the government has authority to
intervene for any harm or wrong doing. This also states that if the government sees the mining
operation unfit, for any reason, a fine could be implicated. This, as well, should be brought to the
attention of the stakeholders.

Following the above values and keeping constant contact with all stakeholders involved
(of legal regulations, environmental concerns, public health concerns, and a financial mindset)
ethics will follow naturally. If the geoscience consultant find himself or herself in a position
where the values and code of ethics are being placed second, the geoscientist should reevaluate
and reconstruct the proposal presented to the stakeholders.

Case Study Analysis

When posed with the task of comparing different interests of stakeholders, there is a
certain risk of acceptance or opposition. This largely depends on the data presented and the
method on how it is presented. Different strategies could be used to tailor the presentation of the
data to a specific entity.
When dealing with stakeholders, a geoscience oriented professional must remember that
there are usually higher priorities than that of the environment. These priorities usually include
monetary or financial gain, man power count or personnel needed, and optimal product
production. However, there are certain stakeholders who are more environmentally conscientious
than others, and this allows for more opportunity to present geo-ethical concerns in a more
liberal manner. These views and characteristics of the stakeholders must be considered when
presenting these concerns, as this will allow for the geoscience professional to approach the
stakeholder in a much more tailored experience. In the event that a geoscience professional
meets opposition from a stakeholder, case studies, such as this one, give the geoscience
professional a tool that allows them to present quantitative data as support for the concern. This
allows for the data to be supported in such a manner that true results can be viewed from
particular actions, or the lack of particular actions. As seen in this case study, the stakeholder
chose not to address the concern of water, air, and noise pollution. The case study reveals that
there are lifelong negative health impacts of both the workers and the citizens near the mining
site. This has, in turn, been found to interest the involvement from the Ministry of Mines in
India, and the stakeholder could be liable for fines or operation changes.

Building a consensus within the leadership of any mining operation ran by stakeholders
will prove to be nothing other than productive with positive outcomes. The interaction between
environmental and human impact rely largely upon the stakeholders decisions that are made. If
the stakeholder chooses to employ leadership that errs on the side of operation benefit, then this
interaction could suffer, leading to negative impacts on human health, environmental health, and
decline of both. If the stakeholder chooses to employ leadership that embraces knowledge
learned from case studies, such as this one, then chances are that delicate balance that exists
between environment and human will thrive, and possibly create a healthier environment for the
operation, human involvement, and environmental impacts.

A certain tailoring may be needed to present data, especially that found in previous case
studies, to stakeholders. This may aid in their decision to employ leadership in which the
consensus is to embrace that balance of human and environment. Presentations of data may need
to put into terms on how choosing to make certain decisions will benefit not only the operation,
but the stakeholders as well. This could possibly come in the form of quantitative or qualitative
data, proof of previous financial gain or productivity, or possibly that of past negative or
derogatory marks or actions against previous stakeholders in similar situations. Using these types
of strategies could lead to stakeholders making decisions to engage more positively with the
environment and human impact.

Ethics and mining - moving beyond the evident. (2015). In M. A. WYSS & S. Peppoloni (Eds.),
Geoethics (pp. 393-407). Waltham, MA: ELSEVIER.

George, A., Raj, M., & Adani, P. (2014, March). Mining in India: Overview. Retrieved from

Indian Bureau of Mines. (2014). Indian minerals yearbook, 2012 (440 001). Retrieved from
Issued by Controller General, Indian Bureau of Mines website:

Irena, N., & Stuckelberger, C. (2013). Mining ethics and sustainability. Retrieved from

ISMSP. (2017). International society of mine safety professionals. Retrieved from

Taylor, S. (n.d.). Geoethics forums. Retrieved from