Coal India Ltd to Launch M-Sand Projects in a Big Way

Jan 27: Sand is classified as a “minor mineral”, under The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) and administrative control over minor minerals vests with the State Governments, accordingly, regulated through State specific rules. Due to high demand, regulated supply and a complete ban on sand mining during monsoon to protect the river ecosystem, finding alternatives to river sand became necessary. Sand Mining Framework (2018) prepared by the Ministry of Mines envisages alternative sources of sand in the form of Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) from crushed rock fines (crusher dust), and sand from Overburden (OB) of coal mines.

During Opencast mining the overlying soil and rocks are removed as waste to extract coal and the fragmented rock (Overburden or OB) is heaped in dumps. Most of the waste is disposed of at the surface which occupies a considerable land area and requires extensive planning and control to minimize the environmental impact of mining. Coal India Ltd (CIL) has envisaged processing the overburden rocks for sand production in mines where OB material contains about 60% sandstone by volume which is harnessed through crushing and processing of Overburden.

OB to M-Sand initiative of CIL is facilitating the processing of waste overburden in its OC Mines. Manufactured Sand (M-Sand) from the overburden of coal mines has several benefits in terms of economic and environmental sustainability, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Using manufactured sand can be more cost-effective than using natural sand, as it can be produced in large quantities at a lower cost.
  • Consistency: Manufactured sand can have a consistent grain size and shape, which can be beneficial for construction projects that require a specific type of sand.
  • Environmental benefits: Using manufactured sand can help to reduce the need for mining natural sand, which can have negative environmental impacts. Additionally, using the overburden from coal mines can help to repurpose materials that would otherwise be considered waste.
  • Reduced water consumption: Using manufactured sand can help to reduce the amount of water required for construction projects, as it does not require washing before use.
  • Better workability: Manufactured sand is more angular and has a rougher surface, which makes it more workable for construction projects.
  • The land occupied by OB dumps can be freed for alternative useful purposes
  • Recovery of sand from waste overburden is the best out-of-waste product
  • Commercial sale of produced sand can generate additional revenue for coal companies
  • Apart from commercial use, sand produced shall also be consumed for sand stowing in Underground Mines enhancing safety & conservation
  • Lesser Sand extraction from rivers will reduce erosion of channel beds & banks and protect the water habitat
  • Help maintain the water table

Status of OB to Sand Plants in CIL:

Existing OB to Sand Plants
CompanyName of PlantSand Production Capacity (cum/day)
ECLKajora area1000
Proposed OB to Sand Plants
CompanyName of PlantSand Production Capacity(cum/day)Expected Date of Commissioning
WCLBallarpur2000May 2023
Durgapur1000Mar 2024
SECLManikpur1000Feb 2024
CCLKathara500Dec 2023
BCCLBarora Area1000July 2024

Out of the five proposed plants, the Ballarpur Plant of WCL is expected to commence production by May 2023. Four plants (one each in WCL, SECL, BCCL & CCL) are under different stages of the tendering process.

Performance of existing OB to Sand Plants:

Company (Name of Plants)OB Processed (m3)Sand Produced (m3)Revenue GeneratedUses
WCL(Bangon & Gondegaon)4,00,0002,03,00011.74 Crores(i) Sold to Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) for construction of Houses under PMAY(ii) Sold to MOIL for Sand Stowing
ECL(Kajora Area -Commissioned on 16 Sep 2022)10,0005,000Used for Underground Stowing
NCL(Amlohri Project)Commissioned on 13 Jan 20238,0004,000(During Trial Run)e-auctioning under process for selling in a market
Total41800021200011.74 Crores 

To expedite OB to the sand initiative, CIL has prepared a Model Bid Document for installing more such plants across subsidiaries in which terms and conditions have been modified for wider participation. The successful bidder shall have the liberty to decide the sale price and marketability of the sand produced.

Apart from OB to the sand initiative, WCL has sold 1,42,749 m3 of OB for road construction, formation for Railways, Land Base levelling and other uses and earned Rs.1.54 Cr. SECL has also used 14,10,000 m3 of OB for Railway Siding and FMC projects. Other subsidiaries of CIL are also taking similar initiatives to utilise OB for other purposes.

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