State gives green signal for uranium mining at Gogi

Controversial project of UCIL crosses a major hurdle

With this, the controversial project has crossed a major hurdle although it is required to obtain the all-important environmental clearances from the State and Central agencies.
The State accorded the ‘in-principle approval’ at the recent State High-Level Clearance Committee meeting to the Central undertaking for carrying out mining and processing operations at Gogi, Saidapur, Diggi, Umardoddi Khanapur and Shakapur villages of Shahapur taluk.

The UCIL has proposed to invest Rs 550 crore, generating employment to only 361 persons. The State has also decided to extend infrastructure facilities like land, water and power, besides incentives and concessions as envisaged in the industrial policy of the State.

The company is permitted to acquire 306.40 acres of land under Section 109 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act in the said villages while obtaining permission from the Shahapur Town Planning Authority. The UCIL will require 1.08  MLD (million litres a day) of water for its activities and the same will be made available from River Bhima.

The project proponent will have to file a separate application to the Water Resource Department for water allocation. It will require 8100 KVA of power, which will have to be serviced by the Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company.

The State government has put forth certain conditions, which are general in nature and applicable to all other project proposals. They include securing Consent For Establishment from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The UCIL has been asked to prepare a plan for development of human resources required for the project, train local people and provide employment.

“The company should take all measures with regard to environment, well being of the persons living in and around the project. The local people should be educated and informed about the project, safety measures adopted and the steps taken by the company to avoid any environmental hazards,’’ an order issued by the Commerce and Industries Secretariat said.

The UCIL has plans to extract 150 tonnes of uranium per year in the form of sodium diuranate (SDU) salt for about 15 years. The uranium ore reserves of Gogi are approximately 3,077 tonnes. Uranium mining lease is spread over 39.13 ha of Gogi while the site of processing is spread over 102.23 ha under Saidapur, Diggi, and Umardoddi.
It will produce 1.5 lakh tonnes of uranium ore, which will be processed to extract 150 tonnes of SDU per year. The uranium extracted as crude salt will be trucked to the Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad for further processing. The minerable reserves of uranium ore are adequate for 15 years with a rated capacity of 500 tonnes a day.
Gogi deposits are the latest in the series being exploited by the UCIL as it has already engaged in uranium mining and processing at Jaduguda, Bhatin, Narwapahar, Turamdih, Banduhurang and Bagjata, all in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.

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