Hyderabad: The coal mining industry, like other industries in the country, produces waste which has adverse impact on the environment. The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), however, continues to make key changes and investments in cutting edge technologies to modernise existing practices to address environmental concerns across the company areas.
Coinciding with World Environment Day on June 5, the 131-year-old SCCL will organise an awareness programmes on virtual mode underscoring the need to protect environment.
With the Central government pledging strong support to the Paris Climate Accord and the State government’s initiative to protect the environment to make Telangana a green State by planting 230 crore plants across the State, the SCCL aims to be the leader in improving the mining sector’s environmental performance. So far, about 5.9 crore plants have been raised in an area of 13,170 hectares. Homestead and institutional plantation was done extensively to filter the air pollutants in addition to avenue plantation that was raised along roads for dust control.
Plantation was carried out around the quarry and Overburden (OB) dumps, which serve as a barrier to prevent dispersion of air borne dust. “Our policy is to be a role model in the protection of environment for sustainable development,” SCCL Chairman and Managing Director N Sridhar said, adding that a lot was being done to achieve green mining.
The SCCL is using semi-mechanized equipment along with advanced technologies such as road headers, long wall, blasting gallery and continuous miners in underground mining. In open cast mining, it is using draglines, shovels and dumpers, surface miners, in-pit crushing and conveying, and other equipment. These technologies and machinery yield higher productivity and less waste production and minimal environmental footprint, he said.
Singareni is committed to implement the best global practices in all its operations through prevention, mitigation of pollution, proper disposal and recycling of waste and bringing awareness among all the stakeholders for continual improvement in environmental performance, Sridhar said.
The SCCL has introduced many eco-friendly initiatives at coal mining operations including automatic dust suppression arrangements, sewage treatment plants, effluent treatment plants, bio-engineering structures on OB dumps, plantation in colonies, medicinal plantations and development of parks and gardens.
Singareni has deployed 28 KL mobile water sprinklers in opencast mines for dust suppression on haul roads and coal transport roads in addition to water sprinklers that are being deployed by the contractors in OB removal and its transport to the dump sites.
Effective water spraying arrangements at coal loading bunkers, pithead on surface and at coal transfer points in coal handling plants were also taken up. Nine mobile dust guns with mist spray arrangement have been deployed in coal handling plants for effective control of dust emissions.
Crusher houses were also enclosed to the maximum extent possible. Conveyors and screens were provided with covers to avoid fugitive dust generation during their operation. Solenoid controlled water spraying arrangements were made on belt conveyors.
All the roads connecting mines, workshops and colonies have been black topped to prevent dust from becoming airborne. SCCL is leading from the front on environmental sustainability and best practices in coal mining beyond mandate, Sridhar said.
The company is carrying out periodical maintenance of vehicles as per manufacturer’s standards. To reduce air pollution load due to burning of coal and wood for domestic purposes, free coal supply arrangements to all the employees have been replaced with free LPG.
Wet-drilling methods are adopted in OC mines and coal transport trucks were covered with tarpaulin sheets during coal transportation for prevention of spillage and resultant dust pollution. Dust generation from the OB dump due to wind is controlled significantly by planting grass on slopes and plants on dump top soon after their formation.
Fly ash is being utilized for stowing in underground mines. “We are also diversifying into green energy sources like solar energy,” Sridhar said.
Moving forward, the SCCL will align its priorities with industry and the Central and State governments to produce coal and leave behind clean soils, clean water and healthy ecosystems, he added.
Equipped monitoring system
Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) has a well established environmental monitoring system with qualified personnel to take care of environmental safeguards.
Its team is continuously monitoring and improving parameters related to wind speed, temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, ambient air quality, noise and water quality as well as groundwater, emission from vehicles and heavy metals in particulate matter.
“We have installed Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Systems (CAAQMS) in eight opencast mines which are being connected to the Telangana State Pollution Control Board website for real time monitoring of dust concentrations,” SCCL Chairman and Managing Director N Sridhar said.
Singareni has been monitoring ambient air quality in and around coal mines at a frequency of once in a fortnight as per standards stipulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for coal mines. The environmental monitoring in SCCL mining areas is being carried out through Environment, Protection, Training and Research Institute (EPTRI), Hyderabad.
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