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     Mineral Resources  in Jaintia Hills

 

Jaintia Hills is rich in minerals. The occurrence of rich Coal and Limestone deposits is a great boon to those who wish to start any industrial venture based on these two minerals such as the manufacture of Portland cement. Besides coal and limestone deposits, deposits of other minerals like clay, shale, phosphate have also been detected in the District.

 Mineral Resources     Mineral Resource Map of State     Check Gates & Revenue    Coal Mining

 
 

Mineral Resources

Mineral

Locality

Area ( Sq.Km) Estimated Reserve ( Million Tons) 
Coal Bapung 12.00 34.00
Lakadong 3.00 1.50
Sutnga 0.16 0.65
Jarain 2.80 1.10
Musiang Lamare 2.30 1.10
Ioksi 3.60 1.25
Total 23.86 39.60

Limestone

Lumshnong 76.80 652.00
Sutnga 0.07 2.00
Nongkhlieh Ridge 4.01 400.00
Tangnub-Tongseng - -
Tongseng-Shnongrim - -
Shnongrim-Molasngi - -
Daistong - -
Syndai 2.08 95.85
Total 82.96 1149.85
Kaolin Thadlaskein 4.00 0.34
Shangpung 2.40 0.50
Mynsngat 1.70 0.30
Mulieh - 0.80
Total 8.10 1.94
Clay Larnai 1.00 95.85
Shale Tongseng, Lumshnong - -
Phosphate Maskut, Sung Valley - -
Bauxite Clay Lumkynthong - -

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Number of Check Gates and Revenue

Particulars 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006
Check Gate 4 4 4
Revenue Collection ( Rs.) 311161060 264576425 318621877
No. of Coal Dealer

 

Exporter 34 13 15
Local Dealer 40 0 36

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Mineral Resource Map of State

                  To be included soon         Go Top

 

 Source : Directorate of  Mineral Resources, Meghalaya.

 

Coal Mining :  a hazard ???         

Being the unique Planet that it is, the Earth -where life exists has been subjected to a lot of modern commercial activities that are over exploiting the natural environment by over consumption causing wide ranges of degradation. The State of Meghalaya is very rich in Tertiary Coal deposits, which are confined to the upper part of the tertiary rocks. The estimated cola deposits in this State are estimated at about 600 million tons, and the district of Jaintia Hills has large deposits and at present large scale extraction is being carried out.

There are 9 important coal deposits places, out of which Bapung and Lakadong are the most important. The rest are : Lumshnong, Malwar Musiang Lamare, Mutang, Sutnga, Jarain Tkentalang, Ioksi and Khliehriat. ost of the coal bearing areas are accessible by roads from Jowai the Headquarter of Jaintia Hills District, 64kms from Shillong. The NH-44 connecting Shillong, Jowai, Badarpur and Silchar leads access to Bapung, Malwar, Mutang, Lumshnong and Lakadong coalfields. The coal bearing areas of the district present a panorama of flat topped low hills, devoid of vegetation and plateau of rolling grasslands inter sparsed by river valleys.   Go Top

By and large coal mining is privately controlled by small-scale ventures. Being a tribal dominated State the land belongs to individuals/ community/village. Locally the extraction of cola is known as the  RAT HOLE MINING, as literally the hole has a 1m opening along which the miners crawl and excavate coal. The miners go as deep as 50-100m in length from the opening. The coal is brought out in small wooden barrows, and head shifted to the roadside to be loaded onto trucks. The present coal exploitation is about 2 million tons per annum in this district.

Coal mining is the most profitable business in this area, but various environmental problems have cropped up in the area such as acute scarcity of potable water, deforestation, water pollution, land subsidence, dust pollution and increase in wasteland, acid mine discharge, changes in the land use patterns of the area. This is mainly because of unscientific primitive techniques and small scale coal mining.

The author of the Article "Implications of Coal Mining" Mr.R.K.Rai, has put forth some ways to reduce the above mentioned problems of coal mining:: The land ownership system in the State needs to be reviewed and implementation of mine regulations is also to be followed strictly to reclaim the mined lands to an ecologically improved and more socially approved conditions. In abandoned mine areas Afforestation programs should be taken up by mine owners. The rat hole mining should be stopped and alternative scientific methods should be used to extract coal. The reclamation of mining areas should be done. The 'acid mine discharge' is to be diverted away from potable water sources. Proper health care facilities need to be provided to laborers working in the mines. It is to be noted that Meghalaya falls under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, so the land is solely owned by the people and the State and Center have little or no control whatsoever. Insurance cover for mine workers should be provided.   Go Top

Studies by various researchers show that the process of eco-restoration can be hastened by suitable intervention by way of planting leguminous species on the spoils. As reported by Kong. Lyngdoh ( 1995) a leguminous plant Eriosaema chinense is found to grow frequently in the coal mines area of Jarain in Jaintia Hills and according to her, this plant by virtue of nodulating profusely and by showing its ability to grow on the soils collected from the mine spoils , is likely to play a significant role in nitrogen economy of the soil. Similar plants can be identified for eco-restoration of the mine spoils.  Go Top

Refilling of the mined areas with mine spoils/top soils followed by a re-vegetating scheme with acid-tolerant species including leguminous plants can be carried out. The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board should also be given the tasks of periodic analysis of water, soil, and air from the mining areas. Local leaders too should be educated on the task of restoration of the mined areas.

 

In short: the participation of NGO's, ecologists and governmental agencies in the eco-restoration of mined areas is necessary. Infact there is a suggestion that a part of the revenue earned from coal mining should be set aside for such programs. 

 

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Compiled re-written & photographed by : Er. K.Olga.Nongrum, Scientific Officer, NIC Jowai Unit. For further reading refer to : Jaintia Hills -A Meghalaya Tribe.