BHUBANESWAR: State-run Coal India (CIL) cleared four projects with an ultimate capacity of 24.6 million tonnes (MT) per annum and a total capital investment of Rs 4,155.46 crore. These mines are expected to start production in a few years and will add to the company’s target of achieving one billion tonnes in output by 2020.
“Producing more coal is essential to meet the country’s much-needed power demand and these mines would help maintain Coal India’s production growth tempo,” said chairman Anil Kumar Jha at the company’s 44th annual general meeting on Wednesday. He said that CIL was not in a position to keep pace with the exponential growth of power demand in the monsoon months of August and September.
The miner has also revised its production target upwards, a rare in CIL’s history, to 652 MT for FY19 against an initial target of 630 MT for the year. According to CIL marketing director S N Prasad, CIL was working towards higher supplies to both power and non-power sectors and was committed to reduce coal imports, which hover around 200 MT per annum. “Supply to the power sector has been set at 525 MT for this fiscal as compared with 454.24 MT supplied in FY18,” Jha said.
On the sidelines, Jha also said CIL is looking to rationalise its underground mines. “During nationalisation in the 1970s, some 700 UG mines were brought under CIL, most of which were small with high manpower. This year, we would close about 53 such mines, some of which we are trying to amalgamate and turn some of them into opencast.” Of the total 369 mines, 95 per cent of CIL’s total coal production is from its 177 open cast mines and about 60 per cent of the total production is extracted from 26 crucial mega mines.
To further sustain the growth, CIL has undertaken major rail infrastructure projects and about 13 projects for coal evacuation have been identified. Around 11 coal blocks have been allotted to Eastern Coalfields Limited, Bharat Coking Coal Limited and Western Coalfields Limited. These new blocks will help these subsidiaries produce more than 100 MT of coal per annum in near future.