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A study on Environmental Impact of Madukkarai limestone mine, Coimbatore

A study on Environmental Impact of Madukkarai limestone mine, Coimbatore

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Curtin Sarawak 1
st
International Symposium on Geology (ISG1-2009
)
 
Utilizing innovative technologies for sustainable Energy Resources 2009” (5
th
Sep’
2009)
37
A study on Environmental Impact of Madukkarai limestone mine, CoimbatoreDistrict, Tamil Nadu, South India
S.Ravichandran
Assistant Engineer, TWAD BoardRural Water Supply,Dharampuri, Tamil Nadu, India
 
V. Gayathri
Lot.5802, Desa Senadin,98000, Miri, Sarawak, MalaysiaEmail :gayathriv4@rediffmail.com
 
R. Nagarajan
Department of Science and MathematicsSchool of Engineering and ScienceCurtin University of Technology98009, Miri, Sarawak, MalaysiaEmail:nagarajan@curtin.edu.my 
 Abstract:
Rapid urbanization andindustrialization particularly in developingcountries have resulted in a considerable impact onthe environment. Mining is the second largestindustry after the agriculture and has played a vitalrole in the development of civilizations from timesimmemorial. In India, generally mineral resourcesand forest cover are seen together. Man is compelledto increase and diversify mining activity to meet hisincreasing demand, and on the other hand resultantchanges in both rural and urban areas. Mining, inshort, contains inevitably the seeds of pollution; if unchecked; they will grow and spread widely orsparsely as the case may be. Thus theenvironmental impacts of mining could be broadlyclassified into five categories, namely water, air,land, noise and Ground vibrations problems.Human has caused severe degradation of hisenvironment, by mismanaging both the renewableand non-renewable resources. Environmentalimpact is any alteration of environmental conditionor creation of new set of environmental conditions,adverse or beneficial, caused or induced by theaction or set of actions under consideration. TheEnvironmental Impact Analysis (EIA) shouldcontain an analysis of the proposed action,alternative actions and associated impacts on theenvironment. Therefore, this paper attempts toassess the rapid environmental impacts of Limestone mining and the preparation of Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for theproposed and expansion of the Madukkarailimestone mines using matrix method. Themagnitude of impact varies in broad range. Eachmining action having an impact on environmentalattribute is given a weight or Parameter ImportanceUnit (PIU) viewed by experts. The overall impactshave been assessed and remedies have beensuggested for the Madukkarai Limestone Mineexpansion project.The monitoring program will help in observingthe improvements of various environmentalparameters and will provide useful guidelines fortaking remedial measures in time for the presentand future development activities. Adoption of various environmental friendly measures such asmodern technological processes, installation of pollution control equipment for reduction of pollution loads, elaborate afforestation (126 Ha sofar undertaken for afforestation) could reduce themining impact on our environment. The presentstatus of environmental and ecological scenariooverall socio economic impact in the core zone andbuffer zone of existing Madukkarai limestone mineput together positive effects.
 Keywords: Environmental Impact Analysis, Madukkari limestone, Coimbatore, India;
I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 Environment is the totality of surroundings inwhich one is located. Man has caused severedegradation of his environment, by mismanagingboth the renewable and non-renewable resourcesall the way through his development. Mining isthe second largest industry after the agricultureand has played a vital role in the development of civilizations from times immemorial. In India,generally mineral resources and forest cover areseen together. Mining implies selection, selectionin turn implies rejection of waste; and the veryprocess of selection may produce smoke, dust,noises and other undesirable effects. The majorimpacts include impact of existing and proposedmining operations on ambient air quality andsensitive receptors, water quality, availability anduses of water, land use pattern, wild life habitats,socio-economic profile and occupational patternof the neighboring population and infrastructure.Mining creates huge wastes and requires space fortheir dumping and thus triggers a number of environmental problems like degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, waterpollution, etc., further huge quantities of air andwater pollutants are added to the environment
 
Curtin Sarawak 1
st
International Symposium on Geology (ISG1-2009
)
 
Utilizing innovative technologies for sustainable Energy Resources 2009” (5
th
Sep’
2009)
38during beneficiation of minerals. Mine may haveimpact on the physical, chemical and biologicalattributes of surrounding environment.Environmental impact is any alteration of environmental condition or creation of new set of environmental conditions, adverse or beneficial,caused or induced by the action or set of actionsunder consideration (EPA, 1989). TheEnvironmental Impact Analysis (EIA) shouldcontain an analysis of the proposed action,alternative actions and associated impacts on theenvironment. The basic objective of Environmental Impact Assessment andEnvironmental Management Plan (EMP) exerciseis to minimize adverse impacts of anydevelopment on the environment (EGI, 1985;Abasis and Arya, 2000). This environmentalimpact assessment was carried out for theMadukkarai Limestone Mine owned by TheAssociated Cement Companies Limited located atMadukkarai in Coimbatore District of Tamilnadu,which is quarrying the lime stone from the year1934 to till the day and proposed to mine up to theyear 2020 and may be renewed in future.Therefore, this thesis attempts to assess the RapidEnvironmental impacts of Limestone mining andthe preparation of Environmental ManagementPlan for the proposed and expansion of theMadukkarai limestone mines.II.
 
M
ETHODOLOGY
 To assess the environmental impacts of limestone mining in the proposed expansion of Madukkarai Limestone Mine, reconnaissancesurvey was conducted and sampling locationswere identified on the basis of Topography,location of surface water bodies like ponds,canals and rivers; baseline data were collectedand various environmental factors wereconsidered for this study. Field was conducted fora period of three months (February 2003 to April2003 – partly winter, pre monsoon seasons) todetermine seasonal variation and also todetermine existing conditions of variousenvironmental attributes such as Ambient airquality (SPM, SO
2
, NOx), Meteorology, Waterquality, Ecology, Noise levels, Soilcharacteristics, Land use, Socio-Economicaspects, Geology and Hydrology etc. At theselected sites, soil samples were collected usingAuger/Core cutter. Approximately 2kg of samples were collected in polythene bags, sealedwell and transported to laboratory for analysis forits physico-chemical characteristics. Themethodology adopted for monitoring surfaceobservations is as per the standard norms laiddown by Bureau of Indian Standards (IS: 8829),Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) andAPHA, 1977. On-site monitoring wasundertaken for various meteorological variablesin order to generate the site-specific data. TheCentral Monitoring Station (CMS) equipped withcontinuous monitoring equipment was installedon top of the existing limestone mines office at aheight of 4.0m above ground level to record windspeed, direction, relative humidity, temperatureand atmospheric pressure. Rainfall is monitoredby rain gauge. Hourly average, maximum andminimum values of wind speed, direction,relative humidity, rainfall, atmospheric pressureand temperature have been recorded continuouslyat this station, for the study period starting from1
st
February to 25
th
April 2003, the abovegenerated Meteorological data were considered.Secondary information on meteorologicalconditions has been collected from the nearestIMD station at Coimbatore. Pressure,temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, cloudcover, wind speed and direction are measuredtwice a day viz., at 0830 and 1730 hr. The windspeed and direction data of IMD, Coimbatorestation has been obtained for the past available 10years (1993-2002). Ground water sourcescovering 5 km radial distance were examined forphysico-chemical parameters in order to assessthe effect of limestone mining and other activitieson ground water. The samples were collectedand analyzed as per the procedures specified in“Standard Method for the Examination of waterand waste water” published by American PublicHealth Association (1991) (APHA). The groundvibration was monitored within the mine leaseboundary to assess the impact of ground vibrationdue to mine blasting. 4493 V 2.5 Minimate
 
vibration measuring equipment of Fast FourierTransform (FFT) analyzer was used to measurethe status of the vibration levels at the time of blasting (Lenard, 1975).III.
 
S
TUDY
A
REA
 
 A.
 
Geography and Physiography
Limestone deposit at Madukkarai is located2.50 km away from Madukkarai Cement Works,which lies 10 km from Coimbatore and is onNational Highway – 47 connecting Cochin andSalem. Geographically the mining lease area(ML3) fall between the latitude 10° 55’ to 10° 56’and longitude 76° 56’ to 76° 59’ and are coveredon the survey of India Topo sheet no.58 B/13, 58F/1,58 A/16. Madukkarai block is bounded on thenorth by Perur, on the NE by Sulur, on the east bySultanpet, on the south by Kinathukadavu and onthe west side by Thondamuthur blocks of Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu. The averageelevation ranges from 362m to 465m in the area.The topography is gently undulated andsurrounded by Calc – granulites hills. Ettimadai,
 
Curtin Sarawak 1
st
International Symposium on Geology (ISG1-2009
)
 
Utilizing innovative technologies for sustainable Energy Resources 2009” (5
th
Sep’
2009)
39Dharmalingam Malai and Ayyaswami Malai arethe hill ranges located in 10 km radius from thelimestone mining area, which are covered byshrubs and bushes. The area is characterized by atropical climate. The temperature varies in therange of 14.9°Cto 37.8°C. The total annualrainfall in the area is about 574.2mm. Theaverage humidity of the area ranges from 29% to81%. The winds in the area are light to moderateduring summer and winter. However, the speedof the wind increases during the end of thesummer season .predominant wind direction isfrom southwest followed by northwest. Therainwater from the area drains out throughseasonal nallas, which ultimately join the Munjiarnalla. The study covers core area of 10 km radiuswith the proposed expansion of the Lime Stonemining area as center.Area under the mining leases (ML3) of Madukkarai limestone mines is undulating withintermittent ridges/hillocks. Kurichi section of mining lease of ML1 located on the foot hill of the hillocks has abandoned quarry of about 15 mdepth whereas, the roadside East section of ML3has partly abandoned quarries covering thecuttings along the hillock slope upto a height of 400 m RL. These pits have 25 meter maximumdepth from the surrounding ground level. Thesouth east and north east corners of the roadsidewest section of ML3 has waste dumps built uptoa height of 15 m. The roadside west section has agentle slope towards east, i.e. towards NH 47.Beyond the southern limit of roadside westsection, Dharmalingamalai hills having thehighest peak at 615 m RL exist. ML1 is dividedinto northern and Kurichi sections by Munjarnallah passing through the lease area. Kurichisection is located around the foothill of a hillock extending to a maximum height of 400 MRL. Inthis section narrow abandoned quarry of 1.7 kmlength worked to the maximum depth of 15 mexist.
 B.
 
General Geology
The study area has huge deposits of limestonein Madukkarai, and Ettimadai region within 10km radius. Country rock is garnetiferoussillimanite schist in most of the places, at placesthe limestone also occurs in association withcharnockite and calc gneiss. The main crystallinelimestone resources of Tamilnadu occurs mainlyin four major belts. a. Tirunelveli –Ramanathapuram, b. Madurai – Dindigul –Tiruchi, c. Sankaridurg – Tiruchengodu –Namakkal and d. Madukkarai – Ettimadai.Madukkarai area is mainly associated withmetamorphic rocks and are considered to belongto the middle Dharwars of southern peninsularshield with the following succession of rocks,Basic Dykes, Chiefly dolerites---------------------------------Felsites and porphyry dykesChamockitesNorite dykesHornblendic dykesPeninsular gneiss--------- Unconformity -----------------Upper Dharwars – Cherty, Ferruginous silts,clays, calcareous silts.Middle Dharwars Basic and ultrabasicintrusives with iron stone, Limestones etc.Lower Dharwars Rhyolites, BasicVolcanics, Dykes and Flows.
C.
 
Geology of the Study area
The Madukkarai mining lease area is part of locally referred roadside west block of Madukkarai limestone deposit as they constitutethe Western portion of single deposit separatedby the National Highway 47. Four distinctlimestone bands namely Band 1,2,3 and 4 of varying width are well exposed in roadside westblock with intervening calc granulite bands. Thelimestone is greyish white and light to dark greyin colour, crystalline and coarse to fine grained innature. It is generally observed that at the contactzone with calc granulite, the limestone is pink incolour. The limestone commonly showsinclusion of diopside, biotite, muscovite andgraphite. Limestone bands are separated by calcgranulite and at places there are thin lenses of calc granulite within the limestone band itself.Intrusions of pegmatite and occasional thin quartsveins are common within limestone. Occurrenceof clay within the limestone is commonlyobserved. The clay infillings along the joints andfractures in the limestone appear to have beenderived from the overburden soil. Anotheroccasional impurity of reddish brown bodies areobserved within limestone and locally termed as“oda”. This body is of two types, one is theKankar variety which has appreciable calciumcarbonate content and the other a harder type withquartz nuclii.

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