The Ministry of Coal highlighted that in this effort, CIL aims to reach a production level of around 8 million tonnes of sand within the next five years by commissioning 15 major Sand Plants in its different coal producing subsidiaries. By the end of the current fiscal, CIL envisages having 9 out of 15 plants with a production of around three lakh cubic meters. This effort will not only help the society at large but will also help in minimising river bed mining of sand.
During opencast mining of coal, the strata lying above the coal seam is known as overburden comprising of clay alluvial sand and sandstone with rich silica content. The overburden is removed to expose and extract coal from beneath. After completion of coal extraction, the overburden is used for backfilling to reclaim the land in its original shape. While extracting overburden from the top, a swell factor of the volume accounts for 20-25%. The initiative has been taken to utilise at least 25% of overburden in converting to sand by crushing, sieving and cleaning.
The very first initiative of such conversion has been taken by Western Coalfields Ltd.(WCL), a subsidiary of CIL in its mines. Initially, a Pilot Project was launched where the sand was extracted through machines erected departmentally. This sand has been offered to Nagpur Improvement Trust at a much cheaper price for constructing low-cost houses under Pradhan MantriAwaasYojana (PMAY). The price of sand is almost 10% of the market price with better quality. On the huge success of the project and with the growing demand for cheaper sand, WCL launched commercial production by commissioning the largest sand production plant in the country near Nagpur. This unit produces 2500 cubic metres of sand per day at about half the market price.
On Sensex, CIL finished at Rs144 per piece up by 1.05%.