Country’s largest iron ore miner NMDC has got conditional approval from the Environment and Forest Ministry for Rs 274 crore limestone project in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.
The clearance is subject to approval from the state government for diversion of agricultural land, necessary forest clearances under the Forest Act and rehabilitation measures for the project-affected people among others.
“The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has examined the application… And hereby accords environmental clearance under the provisions thereof to the above mentioned Arki Limestone Mining Project of NMDC for an annual production capacity of 3 million tonnes of limestone,” MoEF said in a letter to the navratna firm.
The proposal pertains to a semi-mechanised open cast mining project on 232.6 hectare area at Arki in the Solan district with an estimated capital cost of Rs 274.26 crore. Besides, the proposed cost for environmental mitigation measures is Rs 12.09 crore.
The MoEF, which has stipulated a number of conditions, asked the state-run National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to see that the affected people were properly rehabilitated and a final mine closure plan with details of corpus fund be submitted to it.
“Land outsees and land losers/affected people shall be compensated and rehabilitated as per the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007,” it said.
It also warned that in case of non-compliance of the conditions it will withdraw the clearance.
“Failure to comply with any of the conditions… May result in withdrawal of this clearance and attract action under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,” MoEF letter to NMDC mentioned.
The mining plan of the project, spread over an area of 232.6 hectares, was approved in 1991. The Arki mine is said to be containing deposits of about 100 million tonnes of limestone.
According to information, while the low-silica limestone lumps will be used as flux for making steel, the fine limestone would be sold to cement companies.
NMDC at present produces about 30 million tonnes of iron ore from its three fully mechanised mines in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.
Courtesy: Business Standard