Manganese mining became synonymous to Sandur Hills as early as in 1838. The ore was mined by a foreign company from 1907 till 1953. In fact, the old workings and pits, though long abandoned, are still visible in parts of our leasehold area. Even though Sandur had always been an important metallurgical location - with manganese harnessing seen as early as the 18th century - the industry got a fresh lease of life when General Sandur Mining Company, Belgium acquired mining rights from M/s Joban (Jamboon) and Co. Ltd. at the break of the 20th century. Y.R. Ghorpade, the former Maharaja of Sandur, after he merged the Sandur State with Union of India, was awarded a mining lease over an area of 7500 ha. It was he, who founded the Sandur Manganese & Iron Ores Limited (SMIORE) and the lease was transferred to the company. Out of this, 2800 ha of area, which was largely iron ore bearing, was deleted when our lease was renewed in 1974 and retained by the Government. During the second renewal, the company voluntarily surrendered another 1500 ha of forest area for land preservation. Finally the lease was renewed over an area of 3200 ha with effect from 1st January 1994.
With a view to ensure better protection and development of the forested land, Founder Y.R. Ghorpade, magnanimously gifted about 1600 ha of his personal property in 1980. Out of the 3200 ha, we work on 2005 ha, keeping the balance 1200 ha reserved for future use.
Reserves in our lease area are estimated at about 40 million tonnes (Mt) of low grade iron ore, about 8 Mt of low grade manganese ore and nearly 100 Mt of BHQ, keeping the scope of expansion alive.
With a strong foundation, we are one of India’s most integral diversified and integrated commodity producers. The cornerstone of our business still lies in systematic, safe and scientific mining. Our businesses have since expanded to cover mining, downstream facilities of ferroalloy & power, solar power and hospitality.
The future operations, SMIORE NEXT, will be focusing on expanding and upgrading the operations for manganese and iron ore, along with establishing further downstream facilities to produce steel in phases. This expansion will enable us to add value to both manganese and iron ores produced at its mines.
We, at SMIORE, have been conferred with the following awards by various esteemed government and private bodies for our dedicated effort.
The star-rating scheme is an initiative of the Government of India, Ministry of Mines, which builds a framework of compliance mechanism for environment and forest safeguards, and recognizes good performers in the sector to encourage all mining leaseholders to strive for excellence. Sharing best practices, incentives and obtaining faster clearances from regulatory bodies are by products of the awards. We are in receipt of this award for the third consecutive year.
The Report of the Committee, published in 1965, significantly noted: “Although in the case of a large number of mines, the mining operations do not follow any concerted or well thought out plan of development, there are a few bright exceptions such as mines controlled by Manganese Ore India Limited, M/s. Sandur Manganese and Iron Ores Limited and a few other companies who have planned the lay-out of their mines in a systematic manner.”
The findings of the Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the Joint Team, for investigation of illegal mining, mentioned that, as long as SMIORE is concerned, is a matter of great satisfaction and re-assurance of its policy of “business with ethics and values.”
The award was given by Institute of Economic Studies (IES) and was presented by Mr. Korn Dabbaransi Hon’ble Former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
The Government of India has successively conferred SMIORE with the highest safety awards for many years. These awards are focused on the safety norms in the working conditions for the mineworkers, so that the environment is accident free and has a low injury rate