CHENNAI: Union environment ministry has penalised State-owned Tamil Nadu Minerals Limited (TAMIN) for allegedly carrying out graphite mining in Sivaganga district in violation of environmental norms.
TAMIN operates graphite mine in an area of 236.85 hectares spread across Pudupatti, Senthiudayanathapuram and Kumarapatti village in Sivaganga. The project is covered under category ‘A’ of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 and requires prior environmental clearance.
It has submitted a proposal for production enhancement from 0.6 lakh TPA (tonnes per annum) to 1.05 lakh TPA in 2015, but before obtaining environmental clearance it scaled-up production. It was found that the company had mined 92,901 tonnes during 2016-17, which was a violation.
Acknowledging the violation, TAMIN submitted an application for environmental clearance as per violation notification and the ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), which deals with violation cases, took up the proposal at its ninth meeting on June 27-28.
The minutes of meeting, accessed by Express, says EAC has recommended issuing standard Terms of Reference (ToR) for preparing Environment Management Plan (EMP), while asking the State government and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to take action against TAMIN under section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and further no consent to operate to be issued till the project is granted environmental clearance.
Also, the company was asked to give an undertaking by way of affidavit to comply with all the statutory requirements before grant of ToR/environmental clearance and not to repeat any such violation in future, failing which ToR/environmental clearance shall be liable to be terminated forthwith.
More mining violations
A private limestone mine at Chinnagoundanur village in Salem was also allegedly found to be in operation without Consent to Operate. EAC proposed similar action. Meanwhile, SAIL Refractory Company Limited, a Central government undertaking, is another violator, it is alleged. Though it obtained clearance to extract Magnesite, it was found to be mining Dunite also. EAC after examining the application deferred proposal for want of more information.