Mineral Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Opencast coal mining and sustainable local livelihoods in Odisha, India

  • Padmanabha HotaEmail author
  • Bhagirath Behera
Original Paper


With growing demand for mineral resources and favourable policy towards the mining sector, developing countries have become investment hubs for mineral extraction, which has changed the socioeconomic and ecological scenarios particularly in rural areas. Extractive industries such as coal mining generate negative externalities that bring irreversible changes in the local ecological conditions, which adversely affect the local economy and threatens the sustainability of local livelihood systems. The objective of this paper is to analyse the effects of coal mining on local traditional livelihood systems in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. The study is carried out using household level data collected from four mining villages located in the Ib valley coal field of Odisha. The problem of sustainability of local traditional livelihoods is examined in the light of economic theories of sustainability (e.g. weak and strong sustainability) and sustainable livelihood approach (SLA). The results show that rural households in the mining area experience both positive and negative outcomes from the coal mining activities. The expansion of mines has provided employment to locals directly as well as indirectly, which has helped to increase financial as well as physical capitals. On the other hand, the reduction in the provision of ecosystem services due to adverse effects of coal mining resulted in lower yields in traditional livelihood activities such as forest, agriculture, and animal husbandry. The paper suggests that in order to effectively internalize the externalities arising from coal mining and maintain the sustainability of local livelihood system in Odisha, there is a need to reinvest some part of resource rents in regeneration of natural capital of the region.


Mining Traditional livelihood Ecosystem services Sustainability Odisha India 


  1. Action Aid Ghana (2006) Gold rush: The impact of gold mining on poor people in Obuasi in Ghana. A Report by Action Aid International. Accra, GhanaGoogle Scholar
  2. Adjei E (2007) Impact of mining on livelihoods of rural households. A case study of farmers in the Wassa Mining Region, Ghana. M.Phil Thesis, Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  3. Amezaga JM, Rotting TS, Younger P, Nairn RW, Noles A, Oyarzun R, Quintanilla J (2011) A rich vein? Mining and the pursuit of sustainability. Environ Sci Technol 45:21–26, Accessed 10 Aug 2014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aragon FM, Rud JP (2013) Modern industries, pollution and agricultural productivity: Evidence from Ghana. International Growth Centre Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergh JCJM (2010) Externality or sustainability economics? Ecol Econ 69:2047–2052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell B (2009) Mining in Africa: regulation and development. Pluto Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Carney D (1998) Implementing the sustainable rural livelihood approach. In: Carney D (ed) Sustainable rural livelihoods, What contributions can we make? Department For International Development (DFID), London, pp 3–23Google Scholar
  8. Centre for Science and Environment (2008) Rich land poor people- Is sustainable mining posible? Sixth Citizen’s Report. State of India’s EnvironmentGoogle Scholar
  9. Chambers R, Conway GR (1992) Sustainable rural livelihoods: practical concepts for the 21st century. IDS Working Paper No. 117Google Scholar
  10. Chaulya SK (2004) Assessment and management of air quality for an opencast coal mining area. J Environ Manag 70 (1):1–14Google Scholar
  11. Dasgupta P, Heal G (1974) The optimal depletion of exhaustible resources. Rev Econ Stud 41:3–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DFID (1999) Sustainable Livelihoods Guidance Sheets. Department for International Development. Accessed 20 Apr 2016
  13. Diez S, Neumayer E (2007) Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: concepts and measurement. Ecol Econ 61:617–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Downing T (2002). Avoiding New Poverty: Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement. International Institute of Environment and Development. Accessed 20 Apr 2016
  15. Ellis F (2000) Rural households and diversity in developing countries. Oxford University: New York Press Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Emel J, Huber MT (2008) A risky business: mining, rent and the neoliberalization of “risk”. Geoforum 39:1393–1407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghose MK, Roy S (2007) Contribution of small scale mining to employment, development and sustainability- An Indian scenario. Environ Dev Sustain 9:283–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Government of India (2013) Brief Industrial Profile of Jharsuguda District. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME Development Institute Cuttack. Accessed 20 Apr 2016
  19. Government of Odisha (2014) Economic Survey of Odisha 2013–14. Directorate of Economics and Statistics, BhubaneswarGoogle Scholar
  20. Hartwick JM (1977) Intergenerational equity and the investing of rents from exhaustible resources. Am Econ Rev 67(5):972–974Google Scholar
  21. Hendryx M, Ahern MM (2008) Relations between health indicators and residential proximity to coal mining in West Virginia. Am J Pub Health 98(4):669–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hilson GM (2002) The future of small-scale mining: environmental and socioeconomic perspectives. Futures 34:863–872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hilson GM, Banchirigah SM (2009) Are alternate livelihood projects alleviating poverty in mining communities? Experiences from Ghana. J Dev Stud, 45(2):172–196Google Scholar
  24. Horsley J, Prout S, Tonts M, Al SH (2015) Sustainable livelihoods and indicators for regional development in mining economies. Ext Ind Soc 2:368–380Google Scholar
  25. Hota P, Behera B (2015) Coal mining in Odisha: an analysis of impacts on agricultural production and human health. Ext Ind Soc. doi: 10.1016/j.exis.2015.08.007 Google Scholar
  26. Kitula AGN (2006) The environmental and socio-economic impacts of mining on local livelihoods in Tanzania: a case study of Geita Districts. J Clean Prod 14:405–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lahiri-Dutt K (2005) What quality of life in mining region? Econ Polit Wkly 40(9):907–908Google Scholar
  28. Li F, Liu X, Zaho D, Wang B, Jin J, Hu D (2011) Evaluating and modeling ecosystem service loss of coal mining: a case study of Mentougou District of Beijing, China. Ecol Complex 8:139–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lu X, Lora-Wainwright A (2014) Historicizing sustainable livelihoods: a pathways approach to lead mining in rural central China. World Dev 62:189–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maconachie R (2014) Mining for change? Youth livelihoods and extractive industry investment in Sierra Leone. Appl Geogr. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.05.009 Google Scholar
  31. Maconachie R, Hilson G (2013) The extractive industries, community development and livelihood change in developing countries. Commun Dev J 48(3):347–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McMahon G, Remy F (2001) Large mines and the community: socio-economic and environmental effects in Latin America, Canada, and Spain. IDRC/World Bank, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  33. Mishra PP (2009) Coal mining and rural livelihoods: case of the Ib Valley Coalfield, Orissa. Econ Polit Wkly 44:117–123Google Scholar
  34. Mishra PP (2010) Economic valuation of health impacts in a coal mining region. Rev Dev Chang 14(2):183–200Google Scholar
  35. Mishra PP, Pujari AK (2008) Impact of mining on agricultural productivity: a case study of the Indian state of Odisha. South Asian Econ J 9(2):337–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mishra PP, Reddy G (2009) Mining in forest area- problems, causes and concerns: a review. RULNR-CESS Working Paper Series No. 1Google Scholar
  37. MMSD (2002) Breaking new ground: mining minerals and sustainable development, mining mineral and sustainable development. Earthscan Publications, LondonGoogle Scholar
  38. Mohapatra H, Goswami S, Dey D (2010) Coal mine dust concentration and rate of tuberculosis infection around Ib Valley coal field, Orissa, India. J Environ Biol 31(6):953–956Google Scholar
  39. Mukhopadhyay L, Ghosh B (2013) Mining-induced desiccation of water bodies and consequent impact on traditional economic livelihood: an analytical framework. In Nautial S, Rao KS, Kaechele H, Raju KV, Schaldach R (eds) Knowledge system of societies for adaptation and mitigation of impacts of climate change, Springer, p 329–348Google Scholar
  40. Naito K, Otto JM, Smith DN, Myoi H (1999) Legal aspects of exploration and mining: a comparative study of mining law in Asia. J Energ Nat Resour Law 17(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Neumayer E (2003) Weak versus strong sustainability, 2nd edn, Edward Elgar PublishingGoogle Scholar
  42. Saha S, Pattanayak SK, Sills EO, Singha AK (2011) Under-mining health: environmental justice and mining in India. Health Place 17:140–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Saxena NC, Parasuraman S, Kant P, Baviskar A (2010) Report of the Four Member Committee for Investigation into the Proposal Submitted by The Orissa Mining Company for Bauxite Mining in Niyamgiri, Submitted to the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, New Delhi. Accessed 26 April 2016
  44. Schatlez SJ, Stewart BW (2012) A provenance study of mineral matter in coal from Appalachian Basin coal mining regions and implications regarding the respirable health of underground coal workers: a geochemical and Nd isotope investigation. Int J Coal Geo 94:123–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sinha S, Bhattacharya RN, Banerjee R (2007) Surface iron ore mining in eastern India and local level sustainability. Resour Policy 32:57–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Soderholm P, Svahn N (2015) Mining, regional development and benefit-sharing in developed countries. Resour Policy 45:78–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Solow RM (1974) Intergenerational equity and exhaustible resources. Rev Econ Stud 41:29–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. WCED (1987) Our common future. World Commission on Environment and Development. Brundtland Report, Oxford UniversityGoogle Scholar
  49. Zarsky L, Stanley L (2013) Can extractive industries promote sustainable development? A net benefit framework and a case study of the Marlin mine in Guatemala. J Environ Dev 22(2):131–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

Personalised recommendations