Project Profile

Project Title Reclamation of back filled bauxite mine areas through afforestation activities at Lohardaga, Jharkhand
Project Code 2010SF03
Project Status Completed
End Date November 2013
Sponsor(s) Hindalco Industries Limited
Executive Summary Full Text

The aluminum industry in India is highly concentrated with relatively few players dominating the market. Hindustan Aluminum Company Ltd. (HINDALCO) is the largest among them, controlling about 40% of market share. The Industry is one among the flagship companies of Aditya Birla Group of Industries, which is one of the largest corporate groups of the country. HINDALCO strategically established its processing units closer to the mine areas in different parts of the country to achieve maximum benefits. Over the past few decades, the company has grown multifold in its production capabilities, product mix and diversification. Thus in order to fulfil the raw material requirement, the company took many bauxite mine leases in different parts of Jharkhand State, which are primarily located in Lohardaga, Gumla and Latehar districts.

In Lohardaga district, the company recently completed some of the mining leases at Pakhar and Bagru plateaus and started back filled process with laterite, morrum and normal soil layer at the top. The Pakhar and Bagru plateaus are situated just 30 to 35 kms away from the district head quarter Lohardaga. After backfilling the mine areas, rehabilitation and restoration through afforestation activities will be carried out and finally handover to the concern owners.

In view to this, HINDALCO has approach The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi for providing technical assistance to vegetate the reclaimed back filled mine areas in more systematic and scientific methods, and simultaneously address livelihood issues of socio-economically marginal communities of surrounding villages and also highlight cost and benefits including the all the co benefits of afforestation activities.

During the preliminary discussions, it was envisaged that various vegetative measures should be in tune with providing short, medium and long-term benefit opportunities for the marginal communities of surrounding villages. The mine backfilled area and over burden dump of Pakhar and Bagru plateaus would be afforested initially for three years with tree species such as Harar, Bahera, Amla, Arjun, Jamun, Bael, Neem, Ritha or any other medicinal tree species suitable for local microclimate. This would not only yield fruit, fuel, timber, fodder, and NTFP, but will also provide other co benefits such carbon sequestration, oxygen and biomass availability etc to the local community. Besides, direct benefits such as engaged in plantation activities through out the project duration.

The co-benefits can be calculated on the basis of the future projections of carbon captured and stored by these plants. Similarly, other parameters such as cost benefits of the project, Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Net Present Value (NPV) would also be calculated. The company can highlight these benefits in their corporate social responsibility report.

The seed sowing of the grass species would stabilize the soil through their root formation. Grasses have fibrous roots, which decrease the soil erosion and their sod forming tendencies eventually produce a layer of organic soil. Germination of grasses is very useful in restoring the slopes of mine areas since it stabilizes soil, conserves soil moisture and may compete with weedy species. This initial cover must allow the development of diverse, self-sustaining plant communities.

The main aim of the project activity is to develop vegetative cover within the reclaimed backfilled bauxite mine areas in Lohardaga. The specific objectives of the assignment are to develop green cover in at least 25 hectare area of backfilled and over burden dump of Pakhar bauxite mines and Bagru hills bauxite mines in Lohardaga within a span of three years. To develop inhospitable bauxite mine backfilled area into a productive land through systematic and scientific afforestation techniques. To analysis co-benefits of the project such as carbon benefits on future projects and analyse cost and benefits of the afforestation activities and capacity building of HINDALCO staff in plantation and technology transfer for developing green cover.