Singareni suffers setback in production plans

Its plans of two existing mines’ expansion put on hold by MoEF panel

After facing nearly 50% decrease in the targeted coal production in April following closure of the underground mines due to COVID-19 lockdown conditions, Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) has suffered a setback in its production plans for the current financial year with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) deferring clearance to expansion of Manuguru-II and IV opencast mines.

Having set a production target of extracting 67.5 million tonnes of coal for 2020-21, the SCCL management was planning to make most of the expansion of the two mines having the extractable fuel-mineral of 96.75 million tonnes together planned to be mined over 11 years. An expert appraisal committee of the MoEF that had video-meet earlier this month to consider the SCCL proposal for recommending environmental clearance to the expansion of the two mines, but deferred the proposal for want of information on several counts.

The panel has also pointed out several violations in the compliance of conditions set while giving clearance to the two mines originally. One of the major violations pointed by the expert panel is non-installation of conveyor belt system from the pit head to the coal handling plant (CHP) and the coal extracted was still being moved by trucks and dumpers.

While deferring the proposal for expansion of the two mines amalgamation, the expert panel also highlighted the need for compliance of all conditions pertaining to the earlier environmental clearance (EC) with strict time-lines as no commitment on the compliance was given at the virtual meet held due to the lockdown conditions. On the expansion proposal, the panel observed that environmental impact assessment and management plan reports were not prepared properly.

According to SCCL officials, the amalgamation of Manuguru OC-II and OC-IV expansion named as Prakasham Khani OC was proposed with 9.75 million tonnes per annum capacity in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district. The mine lease area has a geological reserve of 402.01 million tonnes with 308.35 million tonnes of mineable reserves and 290.55 million tonnes of extractable coal. Out of it, 193.8 million tonnes has already been extracted in UG and OC and another 96.75 million tonnes is available for extraction in OC.

The expert panel asked SCCL to upload correct information about the proposal on the portal concerned, details on diversion of a supplementary stream of Godavari with time-lines and mechanisation for treating stored mine water to avoid any possibility of ground and surface water contamination among several other aspects.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 7:43:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/singareni-suffers-setback-in-production-plans/article31659964.ece

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