Rat hole mining is a term used in coal mining and is so named because of its name during colonial times, the sistema del rato, and because of the sizes of the holes. Generally done illegally, this type of mining is mainly carried out in the Northeast regions of India (mainly the state of Meghalaya), by members of the community or families. The mining is done by digging small holes into the ground, much like the holes dug by rats. Miners break the rocks with axes and other hand-held equipment and carry out the material in baskets or buckets. This form of illegal mining has significantly impacted the environment of the region and has resulted in water polluted by the waste from the mining and the death of fish and animals. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) of India has banned this practice.
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