Mecon looking at solutions to develop ecologically-friendly mines

ABHISHEK LAW SHOBHA ROY Kolkata | Updated on January 09, 2018

State-owned consultant firm Mecon is conducting a study on the ways and means of reducing the impact of mining on ecology.

According to Atul Bhatt, CMD, Mecon, the need of the hour is to look at how mining can be developed without disturbing the ecological balance. A number of high quality reserves are stuck in ecologically fragile zones.

“We are working in the Chiria mines area of Singhbhum district in Jharkhand and will shortly come up with solutions on how to develop mining without disturbing the sensitive forest ecology,” he told BusinessLine on the sidelines of the 7th Asian Mining Congress.

In the sensitive forest areas, the top soil can be disturbed if companies go for open cast mining. “In such areas, we are suggesting companies to look at underground mining wherever possible,” he said.

In places where underground mining is not feasible, the mine should be designed in a way so as to be ecologically friendly.

“Other than core mining, ancillary activities such as the process plant, sizing plant, township and office building can be moved out to non-forest land (from forest area),” Bhatt added.

To ensure the level of pollution and dust in and around the mining area is under control, Mecon plans to suggest the use of chemicals. This will suppress the dust.

The consultancy firm is also advocating the industry to go in for the dry beneficiation process for coal cleaning, unlike wet beneficiation, which is currently the predominant method, particularly where there is water scarcity.

“Dry beneficiation is a better method in areas where there is water scarcity. However, where water is available in plenty, they can opt for wet beneficiation to control air pollution,” the CMD said.

New technology

This apart, Mecon is also in the process of looking for an alternative to the blasting methodology.

“Blasting creates huge noise, vibration and a cloud of dust, we are looking at an alternative technology to overcome this,” he said.

While new technologies will naturally add to the cost of mining to some extent, Bhatt, however, says it will be more sustainable in the long term.

“They are becoming more sensitive to achieving the ecological balance,” he said, claiming that there was willingness in investing on environment friendly technology.

Published on November 09, 2017

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