We have taken a proactive approach in dealing with the environmental issues arising from our operations. As a result of this, till date we have not received any complaints related to any non-compliance on any environmental parameter.
We continuously monitor the ambient air in our lease area at nine locations for suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respirable particulate matter. For continuous ambient air quality monitoring, we have four air quality monitoring stations inside the mining area and five in the buffer zone. We have carried out a dust fall measurement study which indicates a dust fall rate of 5.62 tons per square kilometer per month in the mining area and a dust fall rate of 1.76 tons per square kilometer per month in the buffer zone.
To minimise fugitive emissions during transportation of ore we had installed downhill conveyor system way back in the year 1991. We have adopted measures like optimized loading of trucks; sprinkling water on the top surface of loaded ore; tarpaulin covers to prevent emission of dust enroute. Our crushing and screening plant has hood and mechanism for dust suppression using water sprays.
Our aim is to maximise the value of water resources while seeking to achieve no long-term net harm to the environment or communities where we operate. Our water management programme is progressively evolving as we continue to gain knowledge and insight into resource usage. We have made concerted efforts to monitor our water consumption to enable us to manage our water requirement in an efﬁcient manner. To harvest the rainwater, 54 gully plugs and 25 check bunds were constructed to plug water run-offs and store rainwater. The harvested rainwater is reused for green belt development and dust suppression. These structures not only reduce soil erosion but also recharge ground water. The water retaining capacity of these structures is about 300,000 cubic meter.
To avoid potential harmful post-closure environmental and social impacts, we take signiﬁcant steps to ensure that the waste generated through our processes is effectively managed. We have put in place systems that will help us recover maximum minerals available, through systematic mining, processing and stocking of minerals under our ’Zero Waste Management’ plan. We have accumulated tailings of 75,265 tons over the last two years and are exploring opportunities to recover useful ore from these tailings through the beneﬁciation process. The disposal of our hazardous waste is closely controlled and carefully managed, both at the operations and the receiving facilities and is subject to regular environmental management system audits in accordance with ISO 14001.
Based on the in-house experiments it was observed that the dump soil was deficient of humus and bio-enzymes. To counter this we introduced bio-digested mass along with agricultural species like jowar, ragi, maize, green gram, horse gram, red gram, bengal gram, etc. These species were selected due to the hygroscopic nature and nitrogen fixing capacity of the fully grown plants. Such agricultural species were planted along with the forest species. The agricultural species bear fruit in a short time, and decompose and release biochemical into the dump soil at the end of their life span. The biochemicals disintegrate the complex minerals of the dump soil, thereby conditioning and enriching the dump soil enabling its use for the growth of forest species.
Soil erosion is a major problem in areas where overburden is dumped. This is also one of the reasons for scarce vegetable growth on the dump slopes. To tackle this problem we introduced an innovative and natural method of dump slope stabilisation, to control soil erosion and enable vegetable growth. This method is called as the Coco-ECB technique. The Coco-ECB technique involves the use of coir woven in to a blanket form spread over the slopes to control soil erosion. The coir contains the highest lignin content, which decays in 3 to 5 years as compared to other organic vegetable fibres, making it suitable for soil erosion control and also other environmental protection applications.