I visited Bhubaneswar last month on a two day tour, as a Mining Quiz was organized by the Society of Geology and Alllied Technologists, Bhubaneswar and I along with my friend were epresenting Mining @ NIT Rourkela. It was a two day trip in which we visited Sukinda Chromite Mine and Ferrochrome Beneficiation Plant and a Regional Museum on Natural History(the place was a bit boring but very informative and had been kept in a very good condition. recently they have got a whale body which was under process of being displayed for the visitors).
Sukinda chromite mine is Asia’s largest chromite deposit formed by residual concentration. It is mined using opencast mining methods. The strike length is 5.5 km of which 2.2 km band is under Tata Steel and rest are under Jindal steel and Orissa mining corporation (O.M.C). In the mine there are three chromite bands, the deposit is being mined at 70m depth currently while the ore is present up to a depth of around 200m. The host rock is hard ultra basic peridotite which hosts the chromite ore. It is a stratiform deposit with dip of 85o. The total lease area under Tata steel is 402 hectare of which around 60% is the ore bearing area.
The drilling machine used is of 150m diameter and site mixed slurry is used as explosive. The annual production of the mine is 3 lakhs ton per year. There are around 4000 people from both the department and contractor. The present contractor is G.S.Atwal Pvt. Engineering Ltd. Ore mating is practiced in the overburden to prevent soil erosion as a environment preventive measure which also provide for slope stability of over burden. The chromite beneficiation plant is located in close vicinity to upgrade the low grade ore, it upgrades 30-40% ore to 55% ore, which is then send to the ferrochrome enrichment plant located around 40 kms from Sukinda at a place called Bamnipal.
The ferrochrome plant at Bamnipal started its first production 27th September 1987 since then it has doubled its production while now the work force is half of what it was at its time of starting. The targeted annual production is 47174 MT in 2010-11. The major customer are JFE(China based company), Hitachi, SMI, Posco, NSSC, and Yakin. The estimated price of chromium is Rs.70, 000/- per tone and it’s the most important component used in manufacture of Stainless steel.