BHUBANESWAR: Scientists and mining experts have called for an end to export of ores and minerals and sought an appropriate national policy for
the efficient management of mineral resources of the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of a national symposium on “Raw Materials & Energy Management of Mineral Based Industries” organized by Institute of Advance Technology and Environment Studies (IATES), eminent scientist and former director general of Council of Scientist and Industrial Research [CSIR] P K Jena on Thursday said rampant export of raw minerals had been going on since several years and it needed to be stopped forthwith to conserve them for the posterity.
“We need to stop export of raw mineral resources forthwith. Mineral resources are not inexhaustible. If we go on exploiting our mineral resources at the present rate, they will be finished within next few decades and the country will head towards a colossal disaster,” warned Dr Jena.
“Mineral resources are vital for our industrial and socio-economic development. Increase in population along with advancement of industrialization, has resulted in growth in consumption or ore and minerals which are not replenishable,” he said, adding, high grade ores mined from earth’s crust had been exhausted.
“The country must top exports of all types of ores and try to add value for exports. As mineral resources are non-replensible in nature, all grades of ores have to be harnessed with an integrated mine area development programme”.
Mr Jena regretted that there had been no proper implementation of advanced technology and efficient management of mineral resources in the national interest. “China is advancing much faster than India in the industrialization programme, for example like producing ten times of steel what India produces”, he remarked.
Mr Jena further said India’s industrial as well as socio, economic development depends on her capability on judicious utilization and conservation of her mineral resources. The ores and minerals are being utilized in major industries such as thermal power plants, integrated iron and steel plants, aluminium and other non-ferrous metal industries and production of a large number of various types of refractories and chemicals.
“As these natural resources are non-replensible in nature and as the industries based on these are generating a lot of wastes polluting heavily our environment, it is extremely important to develop environment friendly, zero discharge as well as energy efficient processes for the mineral based industries”, he said.
Out dated technology, careless mining and lack of firm policy and mismanagement, a lot of mineral wealth, particularly the low grade ones and also high grade fines are being wasted or being exported at throw away price, according to Mr Jena. Similarly in the areas of mineral beneficiation and metal extraction, a lot of metal values are lost in tailings, slimes, leached residues, slags, flue dust, scarps etc. in addition to this, a lot of energy is spent in different mining, mineral processing, metal extraction activities.
This also has led to inefficient energy consumption, improper quality control, waste minimization and cost escalation. “In order to compete in global market and to improve the living standard of the people actions and remedial measures have to be taken up in the following areas”, he added.
Dr Jena also suggested systematic and sincere efforts to produce non –ferrous metals like copper, nickel, lead, zinc, tin, cobalt etc. and refractive metals like niobium, tantalum, vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum etc, not much available in the country.
“We should make these metals from their indigenously available lean and complex ores as well as from the wastes and by products of other industries. We should also make short and long term plans to import ores and minerals as well as the industrial wastes containing these non-ferrous metals and process those in the country to meet our requirements”, Dr Jena remarked.