The Minister of State for Mines, Steel and Labour & Employment, Shri Vishnu Deo Sai has said that the Government has enunciated National Mineral Policy, 2008, which seeks that the conservation of mineral shall be construed not in the restrictive sense of abstinence from consumption or preservation for use in the distant future but as a positive concept leading to augmentation of reserve base through improvement in mining methods, beneficiation and utilisation of low grade ores and rejects and recovery of associated minerals. The Government is aiming for an adequate and effective legal and institutional framework mandating zero waste mining as the ultimate goal and a commitment to prevent sub-optimal and unscientific mining. Mineral sectoral value addition through latest technique of beneficiation, calibration, blending, sizing, concentration, pelletisation, purification and general customising of product is being encouraged.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Shri Vishnu Deo Sai has said that as regulators, Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and State Government approve the mining plan /scheme of mining for systematic and optimum utilisation/extraction of mineral.
He said that as per the provisions of Mineral Conservation and Development Rules 1988, IBM carries out periodical inspections of mines to monitor conservation of minerals, systematic and scientific mining and protection of environment in the leasehold areas of minerals other than minor minerals, coal and atomic minerals.
The Minister said that IBM has notified the threshold values of minerals viz. Apatite and Rock Phosphate, Bauxite, Barytes, Chromite, Dolomite, Fluorite, Iron Ore, Limestone, Magnesite, Manganese Ore and Wollastonite and directed the mine owners that all the non-saleable/un-usable minerals/ores above the limit prescribed in the threshold values are required to be stacked separately in the area earmarked for the purpose and maintain a mineral/ore stock indicating the quantity and quality of material stacked.
He said that IBM has conducted studies such as process-mineralogy, analytical and physical characterization, analysis of samples from the waste dump, mineral rejects, sub-grade minerals stacks in the direction of zero waste mining.
The Minister said that through mineral processing, IBM has upgraded low grade ore/ mineral resources by discarding deleterious constituents thus playing a significant role in conservation of mineral resources by recovering saleable product from them.
He said that IBM is actively engaged in Research &Development work and over sixty odd different minerals of various types of consumer industry namely, metallic & non-metallic minerals, industrial minerals, strategic minerals, fertilizer minerals etc, were tested, characterized and beneficiated at IBM’s Laboratories and Pilot Plant.
“Iron and Steel Vision 2020” has been published in which issues of beneficiation of low grade ores, fines and slimes, development of agglomeration activities including pelletisation of beneficiated fines, use of pellets in iron making for conservation of limited high grade lumps have been addressed in detail to steer a way to the future.