Open Pit Mines:-
Mangampeta is in YSR Kadapa district and has one of the largest reserves of barytes mineral in the world. The barites reserves were discovered in 1960 and it has been mined since 1967. Nearly 1200families lived in this village, which was shifted to a new site and rehabilitated by Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC, a government company) which now owns and operates the mines. The Barytes mines are the pride of APMDC as it earns huge profits from these mines.
The mines here are not underground but the open pit type. Look at the above figure to get an idea of how this mineral is mined. In the picture, you can see a section that has been left un-dug. This is a monument of this mine and it also indicates how deep the mine is. Barytes available in the upper layers is of lower grade while those mined from a depth are of higher grade. Quality is determined by the grain size of the stone. Upper more lay barytes are in grey color while at lower levels it is white or cream white. Once the mineral deposit was discovered, it was tested in the labs and found to be of high quality. Surveys showed that it is available in very large quantities. A plan for mining barytes in the village was developed and the villagers who lived there were rehabilitated.
In the open pit mines, almost all work is done by machines. Shovel, bulldozers are used to remove overburden or the topsoil and rocks which are a waste. Six meter high benches are made(benches are the vertical section of a mine from where the mineral is removed) next to a ten-meter road. The road goes all the way down to the bottom of the pit connecting all the benches. Mineral and waste rocks are removed from the sides by blasting. This is loaded by huge machine dumpers onto ten-tonne capacity tipper trucks. This is how one lakh tonne of barytes are mined in one month in Mangampeta.
Every day 16,000 tonnes of waste material and 3,000 tonnes of barytes are mined and transported. It is a major challenge to dispose of the waste in such a way that it does not damage the environment too much. You must have seen a large whitish hill above the small building.
This hill was made by the waste materials deposited from the mine. Compare the vegetation growing there and in the actual mine area. Plants and grasses adapted to this kind of soil from flying and spreading all around.
Look at the women working in the mines. They are drilling holes for blasting with explosives.
The ore is transported by the trucks to above the ground where it is crushed into fine powder and packed in large bags and sent off in trucks and railway wagons. This is the crushing and packing plant.
There are about 600 workers in this mine. Of these, about 152 are regular employees of the APMDC who get regular salary and benefits as per government norms. The rest are contract workers and trainees who are paid minimum wages only.