INDIA’s largest coal producer Coal India limited is confident that the demand for coal will not disappear in the near term, with the company’s chairman Anil Kumar Jha on Wednesday saying that even though renewable power is gaining favour, they are unlikely to surpass coal as the major source for power generation in the near future. India’s energy migration scenario will be different when compared to many other countries, he pointed out.
The public sector coal mining giant currently produces nearly 83 per cent of the country’s overall coal production and is the primary supplier of coal to most of India’s thermal power producers.
“The question is can renewables take over coal completely in our country? Not in the near future at least. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Coal India Ltd (CIL) is synonymous with India’s energy scenario,” Jha told the company’s shareholders at the company’s 45th annual general meeting held on Wednesday.
The chairman’s remarks come against the backdrop of increasing focus on renewable energy sources for generation of power in different parts of the world.The Indian government, for example, has set itself a target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2022.
Jha also pointed out that the energy migration scenario in India would be “different”, compared to many other countries which have been switching to renewable sources. According to him, nine mining projects having a total capacity of 69.88 million tonnes per year have been sanctioned and the estimated cost is Rs 9,093 crore, while, two rail projects with an outlay of Rs 6,656 crore have been given the go-ahead by the government.
Jha also noted that Coal India had breached the 600 million tonnes-mark in production for the first time, with the miner producing 606.89 million tonnes of coal and supplying 608.14 million tonnes during the last fiscal year, at a growth rate of 6.97 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively, compared to the previous fiscal.
Some of the company’s shareholders, however, expressed disappointment at the poor performance of the company’s stock, with one shareholder who spoke during the meeting saying that it was disappoining to watch the company’s scrip value heading towards a lifetime low of Rs 200 a piece, since the initial public offer nine years ago when the price was Rs 235 per scrip.
Shares of the company closed Wednesday’s trade on the bourses down by 3.3 per cent at Rs 188.75.