Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited, the nodal agency for lignite exploration and exploitation in India, is reaping rich benefits of using geospatial technology in its processes. Here is a look at the various applications of geospatial technology in lignite exploration and mining
Dr.T.Kannadasan, General Manager, Geology
R.Prabakar, Chief Manager, Geology
Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited
Geospatial technology broadly includes mapping and surveying techniques, remote sensing, photogrammetry, cartography, global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS). With its unique ability for acquisition, integration and analysis of geographically referenced spatial information, this technology has, in recent times, been recognized as an effective tool for planning, management and decision making locally and globally. The major sectors using geospatial technology include agriculture, telecommunications, mining, environmental management, forestry, public safety, infrastructure, logistics etc.
Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC) – a Navratna Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of Coal, Govt. of India, is the nodal agency for lignite exploration and exploitation in the country. NLC is implementing a project “Integrated Lignite Resources Information System (ILRIS)” with the objective of collection, compilation and creation of database of all lignite deposits of India for providing technical and managerial information to the government and other stakeholders. NLC is using geospatial technology in the field of lignite exploration and mining for enhancing the efficiencies in lignite mining activities. The various application of geospatial technology in lignite exploration and mining are discussed below.
Application of remote sensing, GIS and minex techniques in lignite exploration activities
Interpretation of remote sensing data was carried out in parts of Eastern and Western Coastal areas of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and prepared a geological and structural map of tertiary basins in GIS platform for carrying out lignite exploration activities in the country. Based on the data collected from lignite exploration activates, geological cross sections were prepared using the Minex software to understand the formation correlation and disposition of lignite seams and its resources etc.
NLC is engaged in utilising the above techniques viz: remote sensing data, GIS and mining related software such as Surpac and Minex etc for planning and managing lignite mining activities and also for the preparation of various thematic maps such as mine planning map, mien wall mapping, hydrographs, prospective seepage zone map, land use and land cover map, hydro-geomorpological map, pressure surface contour map, borehole location maps, iso-thickness contour maps of lignite and overburden, recharge structure site location surface ground water contour map, etc. These thematic maps are found useful in enhancing of lignite mining activities.
Integrated Lignite Resource Information System (ILRIS) project
NLC is functioning as a nodal agency for lignite exploration and exploitation in the country and also nodal agency for implementing project on Integrated Lignite Resource Information System (ILRIS) which is sponsored by Ministry of Coal, Govt. of India. The main objective is to create lignite data base for planning and disseminating information to various stakeholders through ILRIS portal. The first phase of the project has been completed and the second phase for Web portal work is in progress.
GIS software viz. Arc GIS, Minex, Surpac and AutoCAD are being used for different applications in the ILRIS project. Arc GIS software is used for the preparation of geological maps, lignite exploration block maps, creation of spatial database on borehole data and quality data and preparation of exploration lignite block boundaries. Minex, Surpac and AutoCAD software are mainly used for the preparation of borehole location maps, contour plans for lignite and overburden thickness, lignite quality, geological cross sections, mining plans etc.
Geospatial technology is proving to be highly useful in enhancing the efficiencies of lignite exploration and mining activities and also in creating lignite database of the country for planning and disseminating information to various stakeholders for its effective utilization in the interest of the nation.