State-run iron ore producer NMDC Ltd has received the green nod for setting up of Rs 1,095 crore iron ore beneficiation plant at Dantewada district, Chhattisgarh. The company wants to set up the unit to produce iron ore concentrate (in slurry form) suitable for making pellets and transport the same through ‘slurry pipeline transporation system’ from Bacheli in Dantewada district to Nagarnar in Bastar district. “NMDC had sought the environment clearance (EC) for both installation of Iron Ore Beneficiation Plant as well as for Slurry Pipeline System. However, the EC has been granted for setting up of a plant,” a senior government official told PTI.
The company plans to set up an iron ore beneficiation plant with an annual production capacity of 4 million tonnes. The official said the company has been asked to get a separate EC for the slurry pipeline since the forest clearance for it has not yet been obtained. Although the NMDC has got the first stage forest clearance for setting up of a plant, the Union Environment Ministry has said that the current EC for the plant is subject to final forest clearance.
While granting the EC, the ministry has also asked the company to comply with certain specific and general conditions with respect to control of pollution, waste management and creation of green belt among others. As per the proposal, the company said that the new plant will supply iron ore concentrate to its Nagarnar unit where NMDC intends to set up a pellet plant with a capacity of 2 million tonnes per annum.
Pellets are used in steel plant to improve the productivity and reduce the cost of steel making per tonne. That apart, manufacturing of pellet also helps in utilising the unused iron rich slime (considered waste). At present, NMDC Ltd has a production capacity of about 27 million tonnes per annum of iron ore from two fully mechanised mining complexes in Chhattisgarh.