Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ordered closure of all iron ore mines in 3 districts of Karnataka, viz, Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur in July / August 2011. On recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), Hon’ble Supreme Court has permitted reopening of mines on preparation and implementation of Reclamation & Rehabilitation Plans and Supplementary Environment Management Plan for all individual leases. SMI along with ICFRE has been involved – on recommendation of CEC and approval of Hon’ble Supreme Court - to prepare Reclamation & Rehabilitation plans for all individual leases.
Many leases are found to have encroached beyond their lease area in terms of encroached pit, encroached dumps or roads etc. These encroachments are required to be rehabilitated in terms of stabilization or backfilling followed by plantation or geo coir matting along with additional protective measures like retaining wall, garland drain etc.
Additional safeguard measures over and above those stipulated in statutory approvals are required to be identified. These measures includes the following-
1. Measures for surface water management like garland drain, check dam, siltation pond, gully check etc.
2. Dust control measures like water sprinkling systems etc.
3. Noise control and protective measures
4. Safety measures
5. Dump planning considering topography, slope stability, optimal use of available space and protective measures like retaining wall etc.
6. Technological recommendations for sustainable mining in terms of mining method/ pit dimensions to receive optimal recovery of ore, exploration for proper planning and
Feasible production capacity is determined on the basis of 4 parameters
a. Production capacity allowed as per IBM/MoEF/KSPCB’s statutory approvals:-
All the statutory approvals are studied thoroughly and accordingly approved capacity is determined.
b. Production capacity based on available mineral reserves:-
The Reserves and Resources, based on reliable existing exploration data, are considered for computing the production level taking 20 years life.
c. Production capacity based on available dumping space:-
The waste dumping is not allowed to be carried out outside the lease area. Within the lease, the dump capacity is computed based on area/volume identified for waste dumping as per IBM approved mine plan and then ore production capacity is computed for 5 years period based on actual stripping ratio for the last years. The dumping volume is computed based on scientific dump planning – based on dumping in terraces, incorporation of drains, toe walls, check dams, etc – to ensure stable dumps.
d. Production capacity based on road capacity:-
Many of the adverse impacts of ‘mining’ actually relate to traffic – related impacts. The transport route for carrying the ore to its customers/ destination (including ports/railway sidings) is studied and its capacity is computed based on guidelines if Indian Road Congress (IRC).
The recommended capacity of the concerned mine is the least of the 4 computations, subject to the overall ceiling of 25 MT (for Bellary district) and 5 MT (for Chitradurga and Tumkur districts) as fixed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
All these recommendations are based on brief study of scientific data, with supporting legal documents, which is followed by site verification by SMI officials. Apart from that recommendations are also made for mining technology and exploration schedules.