Coal India Ltd to Launch M-Sand Projects in a Big Way

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

With a focus on cost-effective and high-quality sand production, Coal India Limited's subsidiaries will commission five M-Sand (sand) plants by 2024.

An overview of the news

  • Sand is classified as a "minor mineral" under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

  • Administrative control of minor minerals rests with the state governments and is regulated through state specific rules.

  • Due to high demand, regular supply and complete ban on sand mining to protect the river ecosystem during monsoon, it has become very necessary to find an alternative to river sand.

  • The 'Sand Mining Framework' (2018) prepared by the Ministry of Mines envisages alternative sources of sand obtained in the form of sand (M-Sand) manufactured from crushed rock fines (crusher dust) from overburden (OB) of coal mines .

  • During 'opencast mining', the top soil and rocks are removed as waste and the broken rock (overburden or OB) is dumped in the dump to extract the coal.

What is M-sand?

  • It is a form of artificial sand, which is made by crushing hard stones, mainly rocks or granite, into fine particles, which are then washed and pulverized.

  • It is widely used as a substitute for river sand for construction purposes, mostly in the production of concrete and mortar mixes.

Advantages of M-sand 

  • Using manufactured sand is more economical than using natural sand, as it can be produced in large quantities at a lower cost.

  • This sand can have a uniform grain size, which can be beneficial for construction projects that require a specific type of sand.

  • The use of manufactured sand reduces the need for mining natural sand. The mining of natural sand has negative environmental impacts.

  • Its use can help reduce the amount of water needed for construction projects, as it does not need to be washed before use.

  • Manufactured sand is more granular and has a rougher surface, making it more practical for construction projects.

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