The block has 483 million tonnes of mineable reserves and with a 15 million tonnes/annum capacity, the life of the project will be about 22 years.
An expert panel of the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC) has recommended forest clearance for expansion of India’s largest open cast mine located at Nigahi in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, with certain conditions. The expansion of the mine, under the control of Northern Coalfields Limited, is a part of the Singrauli coalfied and is located on a hilly pleateau with an elevation of about 400-450mts above mean sea level.The block has 483 million tonnes of mineable reserves and with a 15 million tonnes/annum capacity, the life of the project will be about 22 years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The coal from the Nigahi extension block will feed the Vindhyachal Thermal Power Station which is the country’s largest power station with an installed capacity of 4,760MW.The project had come up for appraisal before the forest advisory committee (FAC) of the MoEFCC as it requires clearing of forest areas. Singrauli district, where the project is located, is known as the coal and energy capital of the country is home to dense, rich Sal forests. The Nigahi extension block will spread across 596.11 hectares and out of this the project needs to clear 424.5 hectares of forest comprising of 13,201 trees.During the appraisal of the project, the FAC noted the report of MoEFCC’s regional office at Bhopal that detailed the quality of forests. According to the report, a sizeable part of the extension block is covered by dense forests. Using satellite imagery the FAC confirmed that three major patches of very dense forests are present on the western end of the mine. Of this, two grids are classified as inviolate or out of bound for mining.Thus, even as they recommended forest clearance for the project the FAC has asked Northern Coalfields to not utilise the dense forests for mining owing to their richness. It also asked the company to provide details of the dense forest patches such as its area.The Nigahi coal block is located in the same region as the Mahan forests, where local villagers and Greenpeace India ran a campaign against a proposed coal mine of Essar that was eventually cancelled by the Centre. In fact, the MoEF&CC classified the forests around Mahan coal block as inviolate or out of bound for mining.