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.

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Basic Data
NameKavuthi-Vediyappan Hills, Tamil Nadu, India
ProvinceTamil Nadu
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 CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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 (in hectares)963
Level of Investment (in USD)592,751,600,000.00
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population300,000
Start Date29/03/2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesTamil Nadu Iron ore Mining Corporation Ltd. (TIMCO) from India
Relevant government actorsDravida Munnetra Kazhagam (the then Leader of opposition in the Tamil Nadu state Government)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKanjamalai Padagap Iyyakam

Piyush Manush: https://www.linkedin.com/in/piyush-manush-b8568012

Nanadalala Seva Samithi Trust:


Kavuthi-Vediyappan Hills Protection Federation: https://www.facebook.com/Tiruvannamalai-Kavuthi-and-Vediyappan-Hills-Protection-Association-303314086487130/

Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment 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-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

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]

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

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

Arunachala Grace. 23rd January, 2009. (last accessed December 14, 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]

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]

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]

Media Links

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

Other Documents

Kanjimalai hills in Salem district of Tamilnadu Source: http://indiatogether.org/timcomine-environment#
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorArpita Bisht, TERI University,New Delhi, arpitabisht1[email protected]
Last update15/12/2016