New mining policy looks to exploit rich mineral wealth and increase area of mining
GN Bureau | June 16, 2015
With Rajasthan looking to increase land under mining from 0.54% to 1.5%, increase revenue from such activities as well as raise the number of minerals to be mined from 57 to 79, it is going auction 10 lignite blocks and seven limestone blocks .
The lignite blocks auction is to enhance power generation capacity in the state and limestone blocks would be for setting up of cement plants.
At present, nine lignite blocks are under mining lease in the state, out of which eight are being used for power generation and one for mercantile use. Lignite, often called brown coal, is utilised in steam electric power generation and is used in cement, brick kilns, chemical and textile processing sectors.
The state accounts for 9% of the country's total mineral production and has 79 varieties of minerals of which 57 are being commercially exploited.
The state unveiled its new mining policy last week. According to Rajasthan mineral policy 2015, the state has over 5,720 million tonnes of lignite reserves and holds 13% of India's resources and stands second after Tamil Nadu.
At present, 13 units of lignite based power plants are under operation (1,715 MW) and new units are expected to be established. Efforts will be made for setting up more lignite based thermal power plants in the state, it added.
Besides, Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in identified lignite blocks will be set up. CNG stations along national highways Ahmedabad-Udaipur and Palanpur-Sirohi route will be set up, the policy said.
There are 7 limestone blocks for setting up of cement plants, which have been prospected to the required level and are likely to be put for e-auction by the end of September. Mines Department has notified number of cement grade limestone blocks for setting up new major cement plants, yet 42 explored blocks are available for notification, the mineral policy says.
Besides, the government plans to reduce the wastage from mining of limestone also called kota stone -- used extensively in interior decoration as tiles.
"Although mining of Kota Stone has been going on for a long time, there has been a considerable wastage of this mineral due to indiscriminate blasting of unsplittable layers during extraction of splittable limestone," the policy said.
New leases for this mineral will be granted to such entrepreneurs who are prepared to adopt mechanised mining and resort to block mining of unsplittable layer of the stone. This will reduce the wastage of the mineral, it added.
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