Coal India to develop 55 new coal mines in next 5 years: Minister; supply to power sector drops over 8% in April-October

State-owned Coal India Limited (CIL) will develop 55 new coal mines and expand 193 existing ones in the next five years, Parliament was informed. The company is also undertaking portal-based monitoring of ongoing projects to ensure their timely completion.

“Coal India has taken… steps to boost its coal production, (including) opening of 55 greenfield projects having capacity of 92 MTPA (million tonne per annum) and expansion of 193 brownfield projects having capacity of about 310 MTPA in next five years,” Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said in a reply to the Lok Sabha.

A new project on an unused land is called a greenfield project while the existing one that is modified or upgraded is called a brownfield project.

During 2018-19, around 50 per cent of the opencast coal production in CIL was through surface miners. Further, in order to reduce import of coal, CIL is taking up source rationalisation with part supply from higher grade coal sources.

More coal from various sources was offered through e-auction schemes, particularly special forward e-auction, for power consumers, not having fuel supply agreement with CIL sources.

At the same time, supply of coal by state-owned CIL to the power sector registered a decline of 8.5 per cent to 253 million tonnes in the April-October period of this fiscal. Fuel supply by Coal India in the year-ago period was 276.8 million tonnes (MT), according to official data.

The supply of coal to power sector by CIL in October dropped by 19.3 per cent to 33.8 MT, over 41.9 MT in October last fiscal.

Heavy and unseasonal rains this year also affected coal production, CIL saw its output decline by 6 per cent to 241 MT in April-September on account of monsoon.

The state-owned firm had earlier said that it will produce 750 million tonnes of coal in the next financial year. The PSU will further produce 1 billion tonnes of coal by FY2024, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had said. The PSU is currently given the target of producing 660 million tonnes of coal amounting to 82 per cent of the country’s coal output.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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