The proposed mining area for the Lanjigarh Project lies on one of the hills at the
northern end of the Niyamgiri Hill range. The hill is known as Niyam Dangar, and lies partly
in Rayagada District and partly in the Kalahandi District of Orissa. Contrary to popular
notion, Niyamgiri is a hill range comprising of over 100 hills – it is not a single mountain.
The proposed mining will happen on part of one of the hills. The hill will remain in
place, and the mining and reclamation will be conducted concurrently for better
Environmental management. At any given time, only c.20 hectares will be under active
mining. As mining in one area is completed, it will be “back-filled” and “reclaimed,”
which means that the mined out area will be refilled with loose overburden and soil.
Vegetation will be planted simultaneously as mining is completed in each area of the hill,
ensuring a green cover on the barren hill by the end of mining.
The Niyamgiri hill range starts from the Rayagada–Guntur section of India’s Eastern Ghats and rises steeply from 1,000 feet to 5,000 feet above mean sea level. These hills lie at a latitude of 19-30’ and a longitude of 83-25’. A majority of the communities in this region live on the hill slopes, towards Bissamcuttack and Rayagada. The bauxite deposits fall between latitude levels of 19-38’ to 19-41’N and longitude levels of 83-22’ to 83-24’E at an altitude of 1,050 metres to 1,306 metres above mean sea level. The bauxite deposits are close to the surface, and covered with laterite, which is a hard surface that does not allow water to percolate, and hence does not support much vegetation, or water bodies. The mining area thus does not have any habitation or vegetation cover.
Out of the approximately 250 sq km of Niyamgiri Hill range, approximately 4-5 sq km of area, where there is no habitation or cultivation, will be utilised for mining operations. The bauxite is available in pockets up to a maximum depth of 30-35 metres.