Rajasthan studies if sand could be manufactured from mine waste
Can we artificially manufacture sand out of mineral and mineral waste to replace the one we get from rivers? The Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) has formed a committee to see if this can be done, a senior official said Friday.
Member secretary of the board Ajay Kumar Gupta Friday said the committee comprising officials from the pollution board and mines and geology department will study the ways to manufacture sand from minerals and mineral wastes to replace river sand used in construction purposes. It will also suggest ways to overcome environmental problems. The committee will submit its report on May 24.
The Supreme Court had imposed a ban on river sand mining in November last year following which construction works have been badly affected. Rajasthan had, in 2015-16 used 100 million tonne of river sand. Following the ban, it came down to 63 million tonne in 2016-17.
Gupta said sand equivalent to one mined from rivers can be manufactured from granite, sandstone, basalt, quartzite, pegamities, charnokite, and khondalites.
He, however, said there were some technical problems in manufacturing sand. The artificial sand needs to be fine and coarse aggregate for concrete, particles should have higher crushing strength and the surface texture of the particles should be smooth. The major constraint will be quality control and societal acceptance of manufactured sand for which Bureau of Indian Standards will have to set up laboratories in the state.
The mining waste remains available at three locations —mine head as waste dump; at stone crushers as dust, and at stone cutting units as cutting waste. But for utilizing the same, there is a need for amendment in environmental clearance. At present there is no subsidy or financial assistance to utilise the waste at mine head.
The official said that owners will have to obtain consent to operate stone crushers for crushing dust. Currently, stone crusher units are set up 1500 metres away from the population, while the mineral grinding is allowed at a distance of 500 metres. The cutting waste can be utilised without any change in regulation.
Gupta said a workshop on the recommendations given by the committee is proposed in this month in which experts will give their opinion. It will be attended by mine, crusher, grinding industry, plant suppliers including other entrepreneurs from related fields.