ROURKELA: Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) has proposed to expand its coal production of Kulda open cast project (OCP) from 10 MTPA to 15 MTPA over 634.205 hectares (ha) under Basundhara-Garjanbahal (B-G) area in Hemgir block of Sundargarh district. Efforts are underway to set up a new coal mining project in the district, while MCL’s Jharsuguda-Sardega railway line project is nearing completion.
Sources said as per an estimate in April 2015, Ib Valley coalfield area of MCL spread over Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts has coal reserve of about 24.83 billion tonnes, suitable for power generation. However, the projected demand in Ib Valley coalfield area by 2026-27 will be 120.56 tonnes against the existing capacity of 70.4 tonnes. The shortfall would be met through upcoming projects of the coalfield.
Jharsuguda-based Regional Officer of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Niranjan Mallick said the public hearing on the environmental impact of Kulda OCP’s expansion would be held at Bankibahal in Hemgir block on November 14.
MCL sources said at present, Basundhara (West) and Kulda open cast mines are in operation in Sundargarh district. The Basundhara (West) mines’ renewal validity with capacity of 7 MTPA is nearing completion. The MCL is hoping to produce 3.6 MTPA in 2017-18 from this mine. They hope to receive environmental clearance for expansion of Kulda OCP in a couple of months to pave the way for augmentation of coal production.
They said that environmental hearing for fresh mining at Garjanbahal OCP in Hemgir block was held in April 2016 for production of 10 MTPA (normative) and 13 MTPA (peak) over 795.38 ha. The MCL expects to get Stage-II forest clearance by December this year to pave the way for enhanced production.
As per the executive summary, total capital investment in Kulda OCP is set to be `622.21 crore, including `319.53 crore for expansion and `51.53 crore for environmental protection measures.
In a major development, Jharsuguda-Sardega (in Sundargarh) railway network project of MCL worth about `1,000 crore is nearing completion and the MCL has set a target to start loading from December 2017. The railway line with reduced distance would be able to evacuate 12 MTPA through two platforms.
MCL’s Basundhara-Garjanbahal area General Manager Niraj Kalla said new and capacity expansion of existing mines coupled with the railway network and various road projects of MCL would boost the local economy and generate employment.