China drafts new rules to curb mining pollution (Reuters U.S. – August 9, 2016)

China plans to raise environmental standards in its highly-polluting mining sector, according to a policy draft circulated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Amid rising concerns about the state of its environment, China has declared war on polluters and has drawn up new laws, standards and punishments aimed at forcing firms and local governments to toe the line.

The mining sector has been a crucial part of China’s rapid economic expansion in the last three decades, but poor regulation and weak enforcement of standards has contaminated much of the country’s soil and left parts of its land and water supplies unfit for human use, threatening public health.

According to draft rules published on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) ( late last week, miners will be forced to treat more than 85 percent of their wastewater, and they must put systems in place to achieve the “comprehensive utilization” of tailings and other solid waste.

Firms will also be forced to implement measures to remediate land and minimize emissions while mines are still in operation, rather than treating soil and water long after it has been contaminated.

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