Last update:

Kavuthi-Vediyappan Hills, Tamil Nadu, India

11 year struggle to protect Kavuthi-Vediappanmalai Hills from iron ore mining. The hills hold religious significance, serve as the source of various springs, and support local livelihoods of 51 villages were allocated for Iron ore mining in 2005.


In March 2005, the state-owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) entered into a joint venture with the Jindal groups’ Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Ltd. (JVSL) to form TIMCO (Tamil nadu Iron ore Mining Corporation ltd.). TIMCO was formed with the agenda of mining the approximately 75 Million tons of low grade (47%) of iron ore in the Kavuthi-Vediyappan hills near Tiruvannamalai, in Northern Tamil Nadu. The initial forest clearance applied for by TIMCO was for clearing 638 hectares of forest land in Kanjamalai Reserved Forest in Salem district, and 325 hectares in Kavuthimalai Reserved Forest in Tiruvannamalai district—potentially resulting in the felling of over 200,000 naturally grown trees in the dense forests.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kavuthi-Vediyappan Hills, Tamil Nadu, India
State or province:Tamil Nadu
Location of conflict:Tiruvannamalai
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The project aimed at the extraction of 1 million tons of iron ore per year. The total iron ore reserves in the region are estimated at 75 million tons of low grade (47%) ore at Kavuthimalai hills and 35 million tonnes at Vediappanmalai hills.

Project area:963
Level of Investment for the conflictive project592,751,600,000.00
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:300,000
Start of the conflict:29/03/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Tamil Nadu Iron ore Mining Corporation Ltd. (TIMCO) from India
Relevant government actors:Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (the then Leader of opposition in the Tamil Nadu state Government)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kanjamalai Padagap Iyyakam
Piyush Manush:
Nanadalala Seva Samithi Trust:
Kavuthi-Vediyappan Hills Protection Federation:
Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Fires
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Owing to social mobilization, and the involvement of multiple actors, the project has been in a suspended phase for over 11 years. The last verdict by the Madras High Court-the highest court at the state level, ruled against the initiation of mining operations. However, the final decision of whether to allow mining operations is still pending with the Supreme Court of India-the apex court in the country.
Sources & Materials

Kohli, Kanchi. India Together, 21st October, 2009. ‘A miner's shortcut to green clearance goes awry’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

Arunachala Grace. 23rd January, 2009. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

12. The Times of India, Chennai, 26th April, 2015, ‘Madras HC restraints PSUs from felling trees for mining project’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

BusinessLine, 17th April, 2008, 'TIMCO may start Rs. 650-cr iron ore mining project next year'
[click to view]

The Hindu, Tiruvannamalai, 25th March, 2014, ‘Signature campaign against iron ore mining project planned’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

The Hindu, Tiruvannamalai, 3rd April, 2014, ‘Signature campaign launched against mining project’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

Live Mint, Chennai, 18th August, 2009, ‘SC panel rejects TN-Jindal mining project’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

The Hindu, Tiruvannamalai, 23rd February 2015, ‘Kavuthi-Vediyappan hills devastated by fire’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

The Hindu, Tiruvannamalai, 28th February 2014, ‘Mining project proposal flayed in Tiruvannamalai’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

Lawyers Law, 27th April, 2015, ‘Three public sector undertakings restrained to move ahead with their mining projects: Madras High Court’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

The Hindu, Chennai, 26th April, 2015, 'TIDCO, TIMCO restrained from mining, cutting trees'. (last accessed 14th December, 2016)
[click to view]

The Hindu, Tiruvannamalai, 12th April 2014, ‘DMK will not allow Kavuthi hill iron ore mining project: Stalin’ (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

BusinessLine, Chennai, 28th February, ‘Jindals’ quest for iron ore in TN enters the final phase’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

The Hindu, Tiruvannamalai, 22nd July 2008, ‘Iron ore with 47% iron content available in Tiruvannamalai hills’. (last accessed December 14, 2016).
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Rowthiram Pazhagu (MINERAL MINING EPISODE) (10-05-2014) - Part 1
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Arpita Bisht, TERI University,New Delhi, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2512
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.