The Mining Engineers' Association of India (Tamil Nadu chapter) has embarked upon the exercise of popularising modern technology among the mining industry, professionals and students, according to N.Sankarasubbu, association vice-chairman.
Mr. Sankarasubbu told The Hindu that in pursuit of this objective, the association had been organising colloquiums in educational institutions. One such colloquium was organised in coordination with the Department of Earth Sciences of Annamalai University at Chidambaram on Saturday.
The conventional mining practices were beset with problems. For instance, the drilling and blasting operations generated noise and dust pollution and also affected the nearby habitations.
Besides posing health hazards to the employees and the local community, age-old practices also impacted productivity. Therefore, the association, which has eminent mining engineers, geologists and allied professionals as its members, had been taking measures to impress upon the mining sector to adopt non-conventional methods such as surface miner, rock breaker and bucket-wheel excavator.
The surface miner and the rock breaker would totally dispense with the drilling and blasting techniques and therefore these would be a safe bet.
Such knowledge would enable judicious exploitation of minerals and to set right the supply-demand mismatch. Asked whether the advanced technology would be capital intensive, Mr. Sankarasubbu said that initially it might sound so but in the long run it would prove to be quite economical.
About the likelihood of displacement of workforce by the deployment of the latest equipment, Mr. Sankarasubbu said that the increased productivity would fetch in more revenues and this in turn would prompt the industry to go for expansion, thus enabling it to retain the workforce.
He was all praise for the Department of Earth Sciences of Annamalai University for having incorporated all the above mentioned modern mining practices in its curriculum. Speaking at the colloquium, K.Ragukandan, Head, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Annamalai University, said that when Japan and Singapore that depended mostly on imported minerals could progress fast, India which was rich in mineral resources could also forge ahead.
Mr. Ragukandan advocated adoption of proper conservation and preservation methods, besides productive use of the minerals. T.Ramkumar, Head Incharge, Department of Earth Sciences, Annamalai University, B.James, Association vice-chairman, and R.Natarajan, secretary, and G.R.Senthil Kumar, organising secretary, spoke.