Jaduguda Uranium Mines

By: Ashley Abraham SFSU 2017

The Jaduguda Mines provide 25% of material that fuel India’s nuclear reactors[1]. However, 28% of the uranium mined are  waste and are then dumped into ponds[2]. This is an environmental issue due to the uranium radiation emitting from the ponds and the mines. Villagers reported many health issues such as fertility loss and deformities[3]. Another issue is the loss of land due to the mines which made farmers jobless[4]. I will show that the energy injustices at this site arose due to the resource curse.

mine--621x414
Workers in the Jaduguda mines.

The Beginning 

The Jaduguda mines located in Jaduguda, Jarkhand India were the first uranium mines to be built in India in 1967[5]. The beginning of the creation of this mine was due to large deposits of uranium being found in Jaduguda around 1951[6]. The Department of Atomic Energy (DEA) was then formed and established the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL)[7]. After receiving the necessary mandated approval, they rushed in to mine the precious ore that would create nuclear energy[8]. The people living in the area at the time were known as Adivasis, a tribe that was well connected to nature and according to the chief elder, “rarely ill”[9] .This soon changed after the commencement of the Jaduguda mines.

f3a53a3a-ebe2-45b0-947d-e917feb53f68[1]
Map of Jaduguda, Jharkhand, India.

The Strife of the Adivasis

Many of the villagers or Adivasis have reported many health issues such as overall loss of fertility, disrupted menstrual cycles, and miscarriages.[10] Not only are the villagers dealing with these issues but also the animals near the tailing ponds also such as cows and goats[11]. Health issues aren’t just brought on through radiation from the tailing ponds but also from lack of safety gear for workers who labor in the Jaduguda mines[12]. Many laborers have complained about not receiving protective wear and are having to use their bare hands when mining.[13] .The Adhivasis have also struggled through loss of land in which the Jaduguda mines have taken over and expanded on[14].These Adhivasis were originally farmers and lived their lives through farming on their lands and now that UCIL took over their lands they have lost their jobs as farmers[15]. This causes them to work at the mines as day wage laborers[16].UCIL refuses the allegations regarding its tailing pond radiation and its lack of protective gear.[17]

Over 35,000 people live within a 5km radius of the Jaduguda complex and suffer from these issues, however UCIL has not stepped in and helped in any manner[18].

Research from others have showed that the pipelines needed for the tailing ponds have often burst before and seeped into the ground causing toxic material to spread[19]. Hiraoki Koide, a nuclear engineer, conducted experiments in villages close to the mine and tailing ponds and showed radiation levels exceeding the international safe limits by a factor of 10[20].

Tailings+pipeline2C+Jaduguda[1]
Two girls from a village near the mines sitting on a tailing pipeline.

Resource Curse

As one of the largest uranium ore mines in India, the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL) believes that having the mines benefits India tremendously[21]. However, at what cost does having the Jaduguda mines help?  I believe that this case is a perfect example of a resource curse. A resource curse is basically, “worst development outcomes measured in poverty, inequality, and deprivation that are often found in those countries with the greatest natural resource endowments,” according to The Atlantic[22].

The Jaduguda mines reflect this example due to UCIL stating that having the Jaduguda mines creates a “milestone for India’s mining industry”[23] but only at the cost of the people in the area suffering and the environment being polluted.

The profits of having the Jaduguda mines are not just bringing supply to nuclear reactors but also the most “important” profit, money. The Mumbai based UCIL owns all of the mines and reaps its profits while the local Adivasis struggle with radiation and unsafe labor[24]. According to the UCIL website, the annual Jaduguda mining profit for 2014 was 814 billion rupees[25].The people who suffered for this profit were the Adivasis and the environment and yet they do not own any access or control over the mines[26].This resource curse shows the energy injustice that arose at the Jaduguda mines.

06_0[1]
Burial of an Adivasi child who lived near the mines. It is speculated that the child died due to radiation.

References:

1] Stefano, V. D. (1970, January 01). Integral Reflections. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://thehealingprojectweblog.blogspot.com/2016/01/expendable-lives-disposable-earth_31.html

[2]Stefano, V. D. (1970, January 01). Integral Reflections. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://thehealingprojectweblog.blogspot.com/2016/01/expendable-lives-disposable-earth_31.html

[3]Stefano, V. D. (1970, January 01). Integral Reflections. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://thehealingprojectweblog.blogspot.com/2016/01/expendable-lives-disposable-earth_31.html

[4]Wikipedia. (2017, November 20). Jaduguda uranium mine.Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaduguda_uranium_mine

[5]Wikipedia. (2017, November 20). Jaduguda uranium mine.Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaduguda_uranium_mine

[6]Wikipedia. (2017, November 20). Jaduguda uranium mine.Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaduguda_uranium_mine

[7]Wikipedia. (2017, November 20). Jaduguda uranium mine.Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaduguda_uranium_mine

[8] Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (n.d.). Welcome to UCIL India. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.ucil.gov.in/

[9] Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (n.d.). Welcome to UCIL India. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.ucil.gov.in/

[10] Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (n.d.). Welcome to UCIL India. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.ucil.gov.in/

[11] Patrick, S. M. (2012, April 30). Why Natural Resources Are a Curse on Developing Countries and How to Fix It. Retrieved December 05, 2017, from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/why-natural-resources-are-a-curse-on-developing-countries-and-how-to-fix-it/256508/

[12] Patrick, S. M. (2012, April 30). Why Natural Resources Are a Curse on Developing Countries and How to Fix It. Retrieved December 05, 2017, from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/why-natural-resources-are-a-curse-on-developing-countries-and-how-to-fix-it/256508/

[13] Patrick, S. M. (2012, April 30). Why Natural Resources Are a Curse on Developing Countries and How to Fix It. Retrieved December 05, 2017, from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/why-natural-resources-are-a-curse-on-developing-countries-and-how-to-fix-it/256508/

[14]Anuj Wankhede. Retrieved December 04, 2017, A Nightmare Called Jaduguda, http://www.dianuke.org/a-nightmare-called-jaduguda/

[15]Anuj Wankhede. Retrieved December 04, 2017, A Nightmare Called Jaduguda, http://www.dianuke.org/a-nightmare-called-jaduguda/

[16]Anuj Wankhede. Retrieved December 04, 2017, A Nightmare Called Jaduguda, http://www.dianuke.org/a-nightmare-called-jaduguda/

[17] Anuj Wankhede. Retrieved December 04, 2017, A Nightmare Called Jaduguda, http://www.dianuke.org/a-nightmare-called-jaduguda/

[18] Wise Uranium Project.(2003).Issues at Jaduguda Uranium Mine, Jharkhand, India(n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.wise-uranium.org/umopjdg.html

[19]Wise Uranium Project.(2003).Issues at Jaduguda Uranium Mine, Jharkhand, India(n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.wise-uranium.org/umopjdg.html

[20] Wise Uranium Project.(2003).Issues at Jaduguda Uranium Mine, Jharkhand, India(n.d.). Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.wise-uranium.org/umopjdg.html

[21] Times of India.(2015). Leaking Jaduguda mine poses radioactive risk: US report. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/UCIL

[22]  Times of India.(2015). Leaking Jaduguda mine poses radioactive risk: US report. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/UCIL

[23] T.S. Subramanian. 10 September 1999. “Villages and woes”. Frontline. India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008, from http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1618/16180700.htm

[24]T.S. Subramanian. 10 September 1999. “Villages and woes”. Frontline. India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008, from http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1618/16180700.htm

[25]T.S. Subramanian. 10 September 1999. “Villages and woes”. Frontline. India. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008, from http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1618/16180700.htm

[26] Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (n.d.). Welcome to UCIL India. Retrieved December 04, 2017, from http://www.ucil.gov.in/

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