Tata Steel has received green clearance for mining of mineral sand, used in coal production, from the riverbed of Gowai in Purulia District, West Bengal with a proposed production capacity of 0.2 million tonnes per annum.The company said it requires three million tonnes (MT) of sand annually for its coal production of 1.91 MT from five coal mines in Jharia coalfields. The sand dunes of Gowai river will significantly meet its requirement for stowing and stabilisation of the mines."The Environment Ministry has given environment clearance to the Tata Steel's proposal for mining of mineral sand with proposed production capacity of 0.2 million tonnes per annum in the mine lease area of 44.10 hectare in Purulia district, West Bengal," a senior official said.The clearance is subject to certain conditions, including compliance of the latest guidelines on sustainable sand mining practices, he said.
The capital cost of the project is Rs 20 lakh. Among some conditions, Tata Steel has been asked to carry out excavation of up to a maximum depth of 3 meters from the surface of mineral deposit and not less than one meter from water level of the river channel whichever is reached earlier. The company will not be allowed to transport sand by road passing through villages and has been asked to construct a 'bypass' road so that the impact of sound, dust and accidents could be mitigated.Tata Steel will bear the cost towards widening and strengthening of existing public road network in case the same is proposed to be used for the project.In the proposal, the company has said that sands to be collected from the lease area of 44.10 hectare along the river will be sent to the underground coal mines for filling up the voids created due to extraction of coal. About 830 tonnes per day of sand will be transported through the road to a distance of 20 km. The mining activity will be confined to the sand dunes, deposits only above the water level.