KOTA STONE MINING – SOME CRITICAL ASPECTS
Kota stone mining and its dressing as value addition process is one of the major industry in Kota
and Jhalawar districts of Rajasthan. It is a minor mineral and covered under Rajasthan state
minor mineral concession rules and is used as a comparatively cheap flooring medium. The
present trend is to grant mining lease rights to the applicants for 4.0 Ha area under the state
mineral concessional rules. The stone deposits are more or less horizontal sedimentary layers
lying under variable thickness (10m to 30m) of overburden composed of different rock
combinations importantly, shale, high silicious non laminated lime stone, basalt or soil and subsoil
profiles. The ore winning technology is semimechanized involving waste removal by semi
mechanized affairs and stone by manual system in open pits.
In this article, we have tried to analyze the financial implications of the activity and its
counter effects on the current land use pattern. We have tried to focus on the measures very
necessary to restitute the balance for a sustainable, agrobased culture and mineral winning
Kota and Jhalawar districts of Rajasthan jointly have proven reserves of about 100 million tones
of acceptable quality of floor grade splittable lime stone, known widely as kota stone. Current
trend of yearly mining of 55 to 60 lakh MT stone requires about 100 hectares land, which is
primarily under agriculture providing biennial crops.
The present mining activities almost destroy the land and transform it into proven waste
land. This assessment do not cover the land which is blanketed with solid stone slurry released
from the stone cutting and polishing industries. Almost a sizable cultivatable land has been
sacrificed on the altar of mining industry and this process is still in force. This is a serious
environmental issue which need a specific and positive corrective action. Solutions are not
difficult and financial resources to carry out such restoration programmes are neither hard to be
located. A land bank comprising different restored areas can be built up and later on extended
to the original land owners in proportion to their land requisitioned for mining activity. Any such
action will reduce the pressure on land cost interalia help in bringing down the cost of
production and compensate the restoration costs born by the mine owners. The financial
analysis discussed here pertains to a typical mining, but stretching this canvas over other similar
mining activities is not an inhibition, except variation in dimensions.
Deposits located in Kota district are characterized by North West – South East trending strike
ridges and plateaus in the northern parts and broad open valley occupying the southern half
portion. The easterly flowing Amjar river along with its tributary nalas drain the southern portion
and consequent pattern is dendritic in the plain areas while it is sub trellis in the area occupied by
strike ridges. The climate is semi – arid with moderate annual rainfall. The temperature falls
below 100C in the winter while it reaches 450C in the summer.
Regional geology is given in following table
The Vindhya Super group of meso to neoproterozoic age, represented by its four group is
exposed in these areas. The oldest semri group is subdivided into the khorip sub group, and is
represented by the Suket shale formation, which is an assemblage of shale with interbands of
Limestone. The shale are fissile, soft and micaceous, thinly bedded to laminated.
The Suket shale is conformably overlain by Chitorgarh fort sandstone formation of the
Kaimur group. The Kaimur sandstone is dirtywhite to brown with blotches of pink and
streakes of red, purple and grey quartzite sandstone and contains 90% detrittal quartz and in
general is fine grained, thinly to thickly bedded and massive.
The Rewa group is represented by the Jhiri shale (Ratangarh shale) and the upper Rewa
sandstone (Taragarh fort sandstone) formations, conformably overlies the Kaimur sandstone.
The Jhiri (Ratangarh Shale) is thinly bedded to laminate and splintery in nature and pale
yellow to Khaki green in color. It contains thin bands and lenses of clay and dolomitic limestone.
Limestone is often stromatolitic in pockets.
The Taragarh (upper Rewa) sandstone is coarse grained and conglomeratic at base. It
is a massive, quartzite sandstone containing more than 95 percent detrital quartz and is dirty
white light grey and pinkish in colour.
The assemblge conformable overlying the Rewa group is the Bhander group,
represented by the Ganurgarh shale, lower Bhander (Lakheri) Limestone, Lower Bhander
(bundi Hill) sandstone and the Sirbu shale formations.
The Ganuragarh shale is brickred, purple to olive green, splintery, thinly bedded to
Laminated and is intercalated with bands of limestone. It shows sporadic mud cracks. The
Ganuragarh shale grades on to the lower Bhander Limestone which is generally ashgray,
choclate, pink and reddishbrown, massive and noncrystalline rock and dolomitic in
The Lower Bhander sandstone (LBS) conformably overlies the lakheri limestone and
comprises three litho units in the area, namely lower sandstone, middle shale and upper
sandstone. The lower Bhander sandstone is ortho quartzite in nature with more than 95 percent
detrital quartz. A few grains of feldspar, chert, tourmaline, zircon and flakes of mica are present.
The shale is pale grey, olive green, brown and khaki, thinly bedded and inter ciliated with sand
stone and siltstone.
The youngest litho unit in the area is the shirbu shale overlying the lower Bhander
sandstone and occupies small area. It is a soft fissile, grayish brown and buff colour rock.
Bedding is well developed in all litho units and variety of sedimentary structures such as ripple
marks, parting lineation, sun cracks, load and flute cast and rain prints present in the rocks
suggest their deposition in a shallow marine basin under fluctuating conditions. The beds are
mostly horizontal with occasional rolls, a NWSW trending axial trace of a major asymmetrical
anticline passes through the southern part of the area and closure of this fold is located 2 kms
northwest of Dippura in the toposheet No 45 P/9.
The Suket shales in the area are quarried, dressed, polished and sold as Kotastone for
flooring, vindhyan sandstone (LbS) is extensively quarried for construction material while the
lakheri limestone is and for lime burning.
Requirement of land for mining.
Kota stone production retains a direct relationship with surface land requirement function. An
area of 100’x100’ in kota district deposits is capable to yield about 12.0 lakh sq.ft. of Kota
stone slabes to 18.0 lakh sq.ft., and on average the yield comes to 16.0 lakh sq.ft. In case of
Jhalawar district the average yield for a similar area is about 13.0 lakh sq.ft. of Kota stone
slabes, considering non viability of top two sacks in the later case. Assuming a production mix in
the ratio of 40:60 between Kota district and Jhalawar based deposits, we may consider an
uniform yield of 15.0 lakh sq.ft. for 100’x100’ surface area.
Yearly requirement of land for annual Kota stone slabes production is given in Table – A.
Yearly surface land Requirement for Kota stone slabes production
Lakh Sq. Mtr.
stabes in lakh MT
The land requirement is further compounded with additional requirements for waste storage
facilities. Considering a waste Dump, having the dimensions given in following figure
Figure (Water Dump)
Dimensions given in figure and 380 angle of repose, the volume of the dump can be evaluated as
Area of upper deck = w1 , l1
Area of bottom deck = w2, l2
Volume = H x l1w1 + l2w2
Height of Dump considering 380 angle of repose will be
H = 0.39 (DW), where
D is the shorter base dimension, and
W is the shortest top width, normally 3.0 to 4.0 Mtrs., depending upon the width of trucks
engaged in waste movement.
We may roughly estimate the waste retention capacity for 1.0 Ha. Surface land of
rectangular formation having 1:1.5 ratio in its width and length. In such case the shorter
dimension will be 80.0 Mtrs, and the dump height would be H=0.39(D3)=0.39(803)=30
Mtrs. This height will further reduce considering lowering of angle of repose during rainy season.
Apart from this, the capacity reduces considerably for waste dumps entirely composed of soil
and subsoil, as is the case of many properties located in Jhalawar district. The maximum height
of waste dump on 1.0 Ha surface land may be considered to be 25.0 Mtr, taking into account
all these factors.
l2, w2 = 10000 sq.mt.
l1, w1 = (1202.6H) x W
= (1202.6 x 25) x 3 sq.mt.
=165 sq. mtr.
Dump volume will be
165 + 10000 cu. mtr.
= 1,27,000 cu. mtr.
Yearly requirement of surface land for waste disposal for five years is given in table B
Table – B
Yearly surface land requirement for waste disposal
Kota stone ratio (M3 per
Mt. (in lakh) Sq. Mt. (in
Table – C gives total annual land requirement to sustain production parameters.
Table – C
Kota stone production v/s land requirements
MT (in lakh)
requirement for requirement for
Land value and cost of land
The current land use pattern around Kota stone deposits in Kota as well as Jhalawar districts of
Rajasthan is agriculture and from crops farming point the Black Cotton soil is highly productive
subject to availability of irrigation sources. Presently these areas are not connected with
irrigation networks and therefore, agriculture is rain fed. The dominant crops during Kharif
season are Soyabean, Maze and Sorghum, while Rabi carries coriander (Dhaniya), Mustared
and wheat. During Kharif season 85 percent cultivation is of Soyabean and Rabi is equally
divided for coriander and mustard cultivation. The productivity of crops per hectare land and its
value from the current year marketing prices is given in Table –D.
Table – D
Crops pattern and value of crops. (per Ha. cultivable land)
Production in MT/Ha. land Value of crops as per current
Rs. 3500/kwtl (Rs. 84000)
Rs. 4000/kwtl (Rs. 96000)
Rs. 3500/kwtl (Rs. 175000)
Total for both crops
With the loss of cultivatable land every year, there is a loss of agricultureal output, and its
cumulative effect becomes a substantive loss to local agrobased economy. Economical losses
in the agricultural sector due to land use pattern shifting are shown in table – E.
Table – E
Loss of Agriculture due to shift in Land use pattern
Land shifted from agriculture Loss of agriculture in Rs.
to mining works in Ha.
Another important aspect of this pattern change is convertion of farming category employment
into a mining category as semiskilled or nonskilled mine worker. The farmers and their family
members, who sold their land to mineowners, become ousted from their properties and
rehabilitated as working hands in the mines, purchasing their lands.
Considering the average JOT (Agricultured land per khata holder) is 6 Bigas (1.0 Ha), and each
family consists of atleast four working members, the loss of land and unemployment of working
adults is given in table – F.
Table – F
Loss of farming land Families Displaced
Farming displacement and mining rehabilitation scenario –
Most of the land owners adopt mining works after disposing off their prime agricultural lands,
where they are paid as per applicable piece rates compatible with minimum wages put into force
by central ministry of labour from time to time.
Table – G, shows the extent of miner’s employment (Excluding services, administrative and
other categories) for the Kota stone mines, presently in operation in Kota and Jhalawar districts.
Table – G
Employment of Miners in Kota Stone Mining works
The applicable wages structure for different categories of workmen employed in the mines, is
given in Table – H.
Table – H
(Applicable Minimum wages)
Minimum wages rate
Before making a comparision of gains and losses in the individual farmer’s income post disposal
of his agricultural land, it is worthwhile to take a stock of his agricultural income, before land
Table – I shows the yearly income of a single farm khata holding family of four working
members, which comes to
24 kwtls x Rs. 4000/kwtl
50 kwtls x Rs. 3500/kwtl
This income, after making deductions for seeds, ploughing and other incidental expenses (other
than labour wages) becomes, Rs. 2.00 lakhs, but to some extent the deductions are
compensaled by the sales of fodder, stalks etc. However, the total period for which the
employment is kept in force is only six months (Three months effective period for each farming
session) the total man power engagement would be about 200 working days (800 Man days),
and accordingly the wages per Man day comes to Rs. 260/ day. The family members are free
to work for other remunerative jobs after inputing 200 working days into farming works, where
the monetary gains will be in addition to farming income.
The analysis shows that after disposing his cultivatable land, farmer does not make any gains as
far as monetary levels are concerned. The king of land becomes a begger after disposing off his
land, and his status from farmer has been brought down to land less labourer and once the
mining work is over, he does not have any place to work and in all probability will become a
riksha puller in the nearby town or city to feed his family.
Kota stone mining is a semimechanized operation, whereas removal of overburden is carried
out by mechanized means, employing medium size hydraulic excavators and tippers. Soil and
subsoil are removed without resorting to Drilling blasting and underlying hard overburden is
drilled – Blasted. Mining cost can be classified into five subheads.
Cost of channel making, Dressing of slabes, stacking, loading of finished material into tippers
and their unloading into stock yards.
Stock yard maintenance.
Dewatering and other overhead expenses
1. Land cost
As mentioned earlier, prime farming land is purchased from farmers for mining and waste –
disposal. The current land prices, as applicable in Kota and Jhalawar districts are given in
table – J.
Table – J
Current Land purchase prices.
Rs. 24.0 lakhs/Ha.
Rs. 60.0 lakhs/Ha.
Mine owners in case of Jhalawar deposits are prepared to pay substantirely more in
comparasion to Kota deposits, because of soft overburden which does not require Drilling.
Blasting. As discussed earlier the surface area of 100’x100’ will generate about 15 lakh
sqft. Kota stone slabes. For all purposes we may consider weight of 15 lakh sqft. Stone as
On this scale an area of 1.0 Ha. surface land will lead to 1,50,000 MT or 15.0 lakh sq. mtr
stone. To win this quantity of lime stone, on an average 2.50 lakh cu Mtr. Overburden of
different nature has to be removed and stacked into waste dumps.
To win 1,50,000 MT lime stone, the cost of land will be as under.
Cost of Land
(Rs. In Lakh)
The mine owner has to purchase land for mining, at the first stage of mining activity.
2. Development Cost –
Development phase of mining include removal of overburden and its final disposal into waste
banks. This activity requires drilling and blasting in Kota district deposits, while Jhalawar district
deposits almost do not need blasting, or to a negligible status.
The current cost of Drilling and Blasting is Rs. 20/cu. Mtr (Rs. 8/MT) excavation cost in relation
to prevailing diesel prices is given in Table K.
Table – K
Cost of Excavation
HSD Rates Rs/LT
Cost of waste loading
Cost of O/B Removal
Cost of Development for 1.0 Ha. Area for Kota and Jhalawar districts are given in the following
Table – L
Total Cost of
Lakh Mtr) (Rs in
In Kota District deposits, soil/subsoil segment of 25000 Cu Mtr (Average thickness 2.5 Mtr)
do not require Drilling – Blasting and therefore has been curtailed from total waste quantity of
2.50 lakh Cu. Mtr. For drilling blasting expenses application. The extra cost of Rs. 46.00 lakhs
in cost of Kota district deposits are partly compensated by lower cost of land.
The present trend in some of the mines is to straight – away sell part or fully developed areas.
3. Cost of channel cutting, dressing of slabs, loading and transportation of finished
material to the stockyards.
Kota stone exposed surfaces are given 15 cms to 20 cms deep cuts at the intervals of 60 cms
with the help of electric disc cutters, Semiskilled workmen are engaged to cut, dress and stack
different size stone slabes in the pit floor, from where slabes are loaded into trucks and
transported to the surface stockyards.
The present cost of this activity is Rs. 5.50 per sqft of the readily salable product, and in terms
of weight will be Rs. 550/ MT. (Rs 55 per sq. mtr.)
4. Stock Management
Various works including stacking, sizing, and other allied chores carried out in surface
stockyard cost about Rs. 60/MT
State charges Rs 100 per MT as royalty over the dispatches.
6. Misc Expenses
Mine owner bear about Rs. 30 to 35 MT for dewatering, misc. expenses.
The total cost of mining 1.0 Ha. Area, generating 150000 MT (15.0 lakh sq. mtr) Kota stone at
the prices given in this head would be as under
Table – M
Cost in Lakh Rupees
Channel cutting etc. 825.00
Stock, Management 90.00
This actual cost is to be added further towards interest on the capital and necessary surplus.
The average current sale price is Rs. 1600/MT and total revenue generation out of 1.0 Ha.
Enterprise would be 2400 lakhs.
WHO GETS WHAT
The owner purchases 1.0 Ha land for mining after investing 24.0 lakhs (Kota District) or 60
lakhs (Jhalawar District) respectively and mines out 1,50,000 MT of Kota stone at an
expenditure of 1500 lakhs in a period of one or two years and obtains 900 lakhs out of this
enterprise as gross surplus. This is a surplus after clearing govt. taxes, royalty, labour payment
and other expenses but do not include provisions for interest on capital, risk management,
insurance etc. A summary profit and loss account of 1.0 Ha mining operation in terms of
financial implications would be somewhat as under –
Owner receives gross amount of 900 laks after making an expenditure of 1500 lakhs in one or
two years perioed.
State earns 150 lakhs as royalty
Workmen earns 130 lakhs for their workmanship.
Loss of agriculture land is 3.0 Ha.
Loss of crops is Rs. 8.13 lakhs per year on sustained basis.
This clearly shows that the maximum gains received out of this enterprise is the mine owning
company, who receives about 40% of the value of the deposit laid down under mining operation
and the worst looser is the land owner, who has changed his occupation and earned the same
wages, which he used to earn before land ownership changed hands. In this bargain he lost
valuable land providing earnings on sustainable basis, and opted a miner’s job with uncertain
What should be done.
The scenario as highlighted can’t be called a likable sequence of events. What needed is to
compensate the land owner for his permanent losses by providing properly restored mined out
areas with adequate soil – sob soil blanketing over the fills and irrigation facilities extended from
the mind out areas water resources. This is not difficult and can be achieved by resorting to an
eco friendly mining sequence accommodating proper stripping, banking and reuse of soil –
subsoil, planned waste disposal, and utilizing quarry water for irrigation through pipes and
channel networks. The owning company should bear the cost of this activity, out of their margins
and thus help the Ex. Land owner to achieve a part of his sustainable income, which was lost in
the first stage of mining sequence.