SAIL stress on green mining - Rs 3800 crore earmarked for projects

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By PINAKI MAJUMDAR & SUMI SUKANYA
  • Published 26.06.13
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Jamshedpur/New Delhi, June 25: Jharkhand is set to benefit significantly from Steel Authority of India Limited’s (SAIL) environment-friendly projects that will be set up at an investment of around Rs 3,800 crore.

The public sector steel giant has decided to install state-of-the-art ore beneficiation technology at its mines in Kiriburu and Chiria in the state to improve quality and minimise impact of mining on environment. The Union ministry of mines has recently received a letter from the company in this regard.

“SAIL is going to install a recycling unit at Kiriburu iron ore mines in the middle of Saranda forests, West Singhbhum district, for reclamation of water from tailings dam at an investment of Rs 17 crore. This will substantially reduce fresh water consumption from Gagirath Jharna and stop any discharge into water bodies, including Karo and Koena rivers,” a senior official in the ministry told The Telegraph.

Apart from this, modern ore processing plants are being built to achieve zero discharge into tailings dams.

The new beneficiation technology will enhance iron ore recovery and simultaneously minimise generation of tailings, leading to better environment protection and conservation of natural resources by reducing use of land and water.

An official of the company’s public relations department said: “Once linked with the modernisation of Kiriburu mines, SAIL will also install a tailings dam slime beneficiation plant, spending over Rs 45 crore to protect the environment. This will reduce flow of solid materials to tailings dam to a great extent as well as improve fines recovery and discharged water quality.”

The steel behemoth will also set up a similar project at Bolani ore mines in neighbouring Odisha at an estimated cost of Rs 8 crore.

SAIL are also working on projects to use tailings dam materials for higher productivity and better environment management. The new projects are expected to improve safety management at the mines.

At Chiria mines, spread over about 2,376 hectares or about three per cent of the entire Saranda forests, the Maharatna public sector company plans to set up an ore processing unit, far from the mines to reduce bearing on the environment.

The SAIL official further said, “Gua mines, again in Saranda, have already constructed check dams to stop surface run-off in mining areas. With capacity expansion, a new tailings dam and a water recycling plant will be set up at Gua.”

Notably, the raw materials division (RMD) of SAIL is gearing up to raise iron ore production at its seven mines located in Jharkhand and Odisha.

SAIL, which is marching ahead to produce 24MTPA hot metal by 2015-16, will require around 39MT iron ore, out of which around 30MT will be sourced from RMD mines.

Officials said the steel behemoth had earmarked Rs 10,000 crore for its modernisation and expansion projects, which include the environment-friendly programmes, to enhance production capacity of RMD mines from the existing 18MTPA to 30MTPA.

Earlier, as part of SAIL’s expansion programme, comprehensive studies on Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan were conducted at all iron ore mines under RMD.

After the expansion process, SAIL sources claimed Kiriburu would be able to produce 5.50MT, Meghahatuburu 6.50MT, Bolani 10MT, Barsua 4.5MT, Gua 10MT, while Kalta would provide 2MT.