17 October 2020.
Gujrat government has signed a pact with Vedanta Group Firm- Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL)V to set up a greenfield zinc smelter in the state on 14th October 2020.
- The project will entail an investment of up to Rs 10,000 crore.
- The facility spread over 415 acres will entail an investment of Rs 5000- 10,000 crore in phases, creating more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and will be operational by 2022.
- HZL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Government of Gujarat to set up 300 KTPA (kilo tonnes per annum) greenfield zinc smelter at Doswada, GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation).
- The new facility – the first for Hindustan Zinc in Gujarat – will be set up with zero discharge technology and will be among the lowest cost smelters in the world.
- It is located in proximity to port and key markets of consumption.
- The new facility will produce zinc and other minor metals.
- The plant will substantially increase employment and will boost the economy in the region.
- The new facility will be a model plant – incorporating the latest technology, automation and highest standards of environment and health safety compliance.
- The new facility will be in close proximity to the downstream user industries.
- In addition to this it will aid in development of industrial clusters as well as ancillary industries in the future.
What is Smelting?
- Smelting is the process by which heat is applied to extract a metal from its ore.
- The process is used to extract copper, iron, silver, zinc and other base metals.
- During heating, apart from the metal, several other chemical components are emitted.
- Of these, sulphur dioxide and hydrogen dioxide nauseous and pollute the atmosphere.
- The waste products of smelting are released into water supplies. Such waste contains lead and chromium that are hazardous to plant and animal life.
- Acid rains are common in the regions of smelting plants. Acid rain erodes land and makes it unfit for cultivation.
- The workers in the smelting plans are exposed to toxic chemicals.
- Inhalation of these chemicals harm the worker health and productivity.
Possible Environmental Issues:
- There is possibility of contamination of groundwater.
- Possibilty of air pollution causing respiratory diseases cannot be ruled out.
- The Thoothukudi Massacre which took place in 2018 was during a protest against the Copper Smelter plant of Sterlite Corporation.