Coal India Ltd (CIL) plans to set up five overburden (OB) to manufactured sand (M-Sand) plants between May 2023 and July 2024.
These plants would be set up by its subsidiaries namely Western Coalfields Limited, Central Coalfields Limited, South Eastern Coalfields and Bharat Coking Coal Limited.
The coal behemoth has envisaged processing the overburdened rocks for sand production in mines, where OB material contains about 60 per cent sandstone by volume which is harnessed through the crushing and processing of OB.
OB to M-Sand initiative of CIL entails facilitating the processing of waste overburden in its open cast (OC) mines.
During opencast mining, the overlying soil and rocks are removed as waste to extract coal and
the fragmented rock (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.
Ensuring recovery of sand from waste overburden is the best out-of-waste product, sources said. The five proposed plants will ensure the commercial sale of produced sand, which will generate additional revenue for coal companies, they informed further.
Apart from commercial use, sand produced shall also be consumed for sand stowing in underground mines, thus enhancing safety and conservation, sources said further.
Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) will set up a plant in Ballarpur with a capacity of producing 2,000 cubic meters of M-Sand per day, and it is expected to be commissioned in May 2023. WCL will also set up another sand plant in Durgapur with a capacity of 1,000 cubic meters, which would be commissioned in March 2024.
South Eastern Coalfields (SECL) will set up a plant in Manikpur with a daily production capacity of 1,000 cubic meters of sand. This plant is expected to be commissioned in February 2024.
Another subsidiary of Coal India, Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) will set up a plant in Kathara. This will have a production capacity of 500 cubic meters and will be commissioned in December 2023.
Bharat Coking Coal Limited will set up a sand plant in Barora, which will have a production capacity of 1,000 cubic meters. It will be commissioned in July 2024.