Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL), the Miniratna coal-producing company, is all set to start production of M-Sand-the core material used in construction in civil works in its Amlohri Project. The initiative is, based on promoting sustainable practices under the mentorship of the Ministry of Coal to augment the utilization of natural resources and to reduce the adverse impact of mining. Eyeing business diversification while focusing on the ecological balance, the company has set up a Sand manufacturing plant using its Over Burden (OB) as raw material.
This pro-environment initiative of the company will assist in conserving river bed erosion and preserving aquatic ecosystems. Recently NCL has secured consent to operate (CTO), which paves the path towards commercial production and auction of M-Sand, which is likely to begin next month.
A whopping 410 Million Cubic Meters of Over Burden (OB) has to remove to extract the coal below. The material above the coal seam (layer) is known as Overburden (OB). This large quantity is roughly four times the amount of coal to be extracted. NCL produces over 122 Million Tonnes of coal annually from its ten open-pit mines. The large quantity of Over Burden (OB) occupies a massive space and is a waste material.
The groundbreaking initiative is a win-win situation for the company, government, and local stakeholders. NCL will produce about 3 Lakh Cubic Meters of M-Sand annually and will use 1429 Cubic Meters Over Burden each day to make 1000 Cubic Meters of sand per day. The M-Sand, produced, will be e-auctioned at a much lower base price and superior or par quality compared to presently available sand in the market.
After the successful commencement of this plant, the company is also considering establishing more such innovative Over Burden to M-Sand making units in different production projects. Against the backdrop of NCL’s topsoil having a good silica composition, the possibility is also explored, for making Solar Panels, Glass, GRP Pipes and other materials.
NCL is one of the flagship subsidiaries of Coal India Limited, known for its ten highly mechanized mines and its pivotal role in catering to the power sector. The company is located in the Singrauli and Sonbhadra districts of MP and UP states respectively. These companies has been entrusted with coal production and dispatch targets of 122 million tonnes in the current fiscal 2022-23.