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Lloyds Steel iron ore mine in Gadchiroli, MH, India

Caught between police brutality, paramilitary forces and private corporations, tribals bear the brunt of 'development' amidst ongoing blatant disregard of constitutional rights.


In 2007, Lloyd Steel—a Mumbai based Private company, received clearances to begin iron ore mining operations in Surajgarh hills of Gadchiroli—a predominantly tribal (adivasi) district with large reserves of high grade iron ore. Of the estimated 270 MT of iron ore in the state of Maharashtra, Gadchiroli has about 180 MT (Routary, 2016). However, the project has been stalled multiple times since being granted approval primarily owing to two reasons a) the protests by local villagers, and b) strong Naxalite (a banned organization, and an armed group) presence in the area. The region has been heavily militarized, with the presence of a large number of paramilitary troops for ‘industrial security’. In 2013, in a highly publicized event, the Naxalites in the region shot dead the Vice-President, and two other employees of the Llyod group (TIE, 2013; The Telegraph, 2013). Following the logjam, Devendra Fadnavis, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in August of 2015, requested the home minister to increase the presence of paramilitary troops in the region to help facilitate the process of continuing mining operations (DNA, 2015). In a press conference, Fadnavis states that, "Gadchiroli is mineral rich and along with mining we also want to push for setting up of industries to process the minerals. For that, we discussed as to how much additional security is required…We also want to impart skill training to local tribal youth to include them in this development process and along-side a strong road network should also be in place.” In February of 2016, a protest organized by the local tribals against illegal felling of trees for the purpose of construction of a road, resulted in halting construction briefly (Goyal , 2016). Extraction finally began in March of 2016, but were shut down within days, owing to opposition lead by members of political parties (TOI, 2016). On its first day of operation, the mine employed to 300 people as laborers, but soon a much larger number of people flocked to the mine demanding employment—which has been the key benefit promised to local people in return for ceasing their opposition of the operations (TOI, 2016).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Lloyds Steel iron ore mine in Gadchiroli, MH, India
State or province:Maharashtra
Location of conflict:Gadchiroli
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The iron ore mining project has a capacity of producing 1.2 MT of iron ore per year. However, currenlty, the mine is not functioning to capacity. The ore is meant for utilization at the Llyod groups steel plant in Ghuggus in Chandrapur district.

Project area:348
Type of populationRural
Company names or state enterprises:Llyod Group from India
Relevant government actors:Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis
CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force)
State Police
Sub-divisional magistrate
District Collector
Members of Congress, the opposition party
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bharat Jan Andolan:
Surjagad Bachao Sangharsh Samiti
Lalsu Soma Nagoti:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Lots of killings are related to the control of this mining area. Just to report a few, a local youth, Raju Sedamake, was killed by the Naxalites for persuading villagers to agree to the project (DNA, 2016). On the other hand, the villagers also face harassment, arrest, and torture at the hands of the police and paramilitary forces if they are vocal about their anti-mining stance. Such people are commonly known to be branded ‘naxalites’ by the local police and arrested, detained, tortured and even killed. By July of 2015, six ‘naxalite’ women were killed in the region (Iqbal, 2016, The Hindu, 2016). In May of 2016, a local youth was captured by the paramilitary (called the C60) and beaten in front of the entire village for two hours.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:After years of brutal repression of protest, criminalization of tribal activists, and harassment of local communities, the project is finally under operation.
Sources & Materials

The Times of India, Nagpur, 22nd April, 2016, ‘Surajgarh mining project begins extracting iron ore’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
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India Today, Gadchiroli, 16th June 2016, ‘Hearts and mines’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

Goyal. P., Tehelka, 7th October 2016, ‘Maharashtra tribals up against mining companies’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Indian Express, Nagpur, 23rd August 2015, ‘Security, public trust key to iron ore mining projects in Gadchiroli’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

Iqbal, J., The Wire, 11th September 2016, ‘In Gadchiroli, the mining of another adivasi god’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

Routary, B. P., Eurasia Review, 20th September 2016, ‘The dream that the state sells—analysis ’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

DNA, New Delhi, 29th August 2015, ‘To secure mining sector, Devendra Fadnavis asks Center to increase paramilitary deployment’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

14. The Statesman, Mumbai, 4th August 2016, ‘Police detain tribals, warn of action for refusing govt schemes’.
[click to view]

Naved, S., The Wire, 30th August 2016, ‘Maharashtra’s proposed new security law would end up creating a police state’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Hindu, Gadchiroli, 19th May 2013, ‘Trouble brewing in Gadchiroli over proposed mining unit’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Statesman, Mumbai, 4th August 2016, ‘Police detain tribals, warn of action for refusing govt schemes’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Times of India, Nagpur, 14th June 2013, ‘Mining efforts in Surajgarh have so far come to nought’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Times of India, Nagpur, 26th April 2016, ‘Iron ore mining at Surajgarh stopped again’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Indian Express, Nagpur, 14th June 2013, ‘Naxals’ kill Llyod Steel VP and two others in (last accessed 15th December 2016).Gadchiroli mining row’.
[click to view]

Business Standard, 8th April 2016, ‘Lloyds metals and energy surges after resuming mining activites at Gadchiroli mines ’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Indian Express, Mumbai, 10th April 2016, ‘Gadchiroli: Iron-ore mining project starts’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

The Telegraph, Nagpur, 13th June 2013, ‘Maoists kill steel official in Gadchiroli—Naxalite passenger recounts hour of terror in Bihar train, 3 die in Maharashtra’. (last accessed 15th December 2016).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Arpita Bisht, TERI University, New Delhi, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2518
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