Pellet Plants Now Require Prior Environmental Clearance

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has amended notification dated 14th September 2006, mandating prior environmental clearance for specific activities and projects. This amendment now includes cold rolled stainless steel manufacturing industries within its ambit, in line with the order of the National Green Tribunal in Gajubha Jesar Jadeja vs Union of India & Ors. This amending notification was issued on June 7, 2024.

The amendment has introduced Pellet plants in the List of Projects or Activities Requiring Prior Environmental Clearance. Pellet Plant is now added as a new primary processing category within this list. The amendment specifies that all standalone pellet plants, regardless of capacity, are categorized as Category B. They must adhere to the general conditions that pellet plants will be treated as Category A, if located in whole or in part within 10 km from the boundary of:

  1. Protected Areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972,
  2. Critically Polluted areas as identified by the Central Pollution Control Board from time to time,
  3. Eco sensitive areas as notified under section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, such as, Mahabaleshwar Panchgani, Matheran, Pachmarhi, Dahanu, Doon Valley, and
  4. inter-State boundaries and international boundaries

It is important to note that this categorization provides the basis for deciding from whom prior environmental clearance is required to be obtained as follows:

  • Category A projects require prior environmental clearance from Central Government in the Ministry of Environment and Forests and
  • Category B require prior environmental clearance from State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA)

In Materials production category, threshold limits for the project/activity of Metallurgical industries (ferrous & non ferrous) are substituted.

The amendment outlines the threshold for sponge iron manufacturing greater than or equal to 200TPD (Tonne Per Day) will be greater than or equal to 0.06MTPA (Million tonnes per annum) and for sponge iron manufacturing less than 200TPD (Tonne Per Day) will be less than 0.06MTPA (Million tonnes per annum).

It distinguishes between different capacities and processes for toxic metal producing units in the secondary metallurgical industry and categorizes fuel usage in the furnace into two categories, B1 and B2, based on different capacity thresholds for both solid/liquid fuel and gas fuel/electricity.

Exempted Projects and Activities

Recycling industrial units registered under the Hazardous and Other Wastes Rules, E-Waste Rules, and Battery Waste Management Rules are exempted.

Thermal power plants set up within metallurgical industries, excluding certain types of power plants, and those based on non-hazardous municipal solid waste are also exempted.

Standalone processes such as rolling, re-rolling, extrusion, piercing, forging, and drawing that do not involve melting or pickling are exempted.