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India to Deploy Flying Camera Drones to Track Illegal Miners

  • Using drones to combat corruption, curb environmental damage
  • Billions lost as mine cheats eschew taxes, deter investments
1486000094_india mining lede
Photographer: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
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Desperate to develop its own mineral deposits, resource-hungry India is trying to revive investment by taking aim at illegal miners like the sand mafia -- from a few hundred feet in the air.

The government will deploy flying camera drones to track renegades who for years have been extracting everything from sand to coal to iron ore without permits. Unsanctioned diggers pay no tax, violate the mineral rights of others and employ rudimentary methods blamed for widespread environmental damage. They’re also hard to catch, working in remote areas and sometimes getting help from corrupt officials.