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 for maximizing the utilization of natural resources and minimizing the adverse impact of mining. Eyeing on 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 to conserve river bed erosion and preserve 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) is required to be removed to extract the coal below. The material above the coal seam (layer) is known as Overburden (OB). This huge quantity is roughly 4 times the amount of coal to be extracted. NCL produces over 122 Million Tonnes of coal annually from its 10 open-pit mines. The huge quantity of Over Burden (OB) occupies large 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 be using 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 cheaper base price and of superior or par quality compared to presently available sand in the market.
After the successful commencement of this plant, the company is also considering to establish more such innovative Over Burden to M-Sand making units in different production projects. In the backdrop of NCL’s topsoil having good composition of silica, the possibility is also being 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 10 highly mechanized mines and its pivotal role in catering to the power sector. The company is located in Singrauli and Sonbhadra districts of MP and UP states respectively and has been entrusted with coal production and dispatch targets of 122 million tonnes in the current fiscal 2022-23.