State-owned CIL intends to produce sand using overburden rocks lying at its various coal mines and the operation of five such sand plants is likely to commence by next year, the government said on Friday.
Under the 'overburden (OB) rocks-to-manufactured sand' initiative, Coal India Ltd (CIL) facilitates processing of waste overburden at its open cast mines.
"CIL has envisaged to process the overburden rocks for sand production in mines where OB material contain about 60 per cent sandstone by volume which is harnessed through crushing and processing of overburden," the coal ministry said in a statement.
Out of the five proposed plants, Ballarpur Plant of Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) is expected to commence sand production by May.
Four plants -- one each in WCL, South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL)-- are under different stages of tendering process.
To fast-track the 'OB-to-sand' initiative, CIL has prepared a model bid document for installing more such plants across subsidiaries, in which terms and conditions have been modified for wider participation.
The successful bidder will have the liberty to decide sale price and marketability of sand produced, according to the statement.
Overburden rocks are also used in levelling up land for construction of roads and railway tracks.
WCL has sold 1,42,749 m3 of OB for road construction, formation for railways, land base levelling and other uses and earned Rs 1.54 crore.
SECL has also used 14,10,000 m3 of OB for railway siding and FMC projects.
Other subsidiaries of CIL are also taking similar initiatives to utilise OB for other purposes.