CIL identifies 12 discontinued, underground blocks, plans to restore coal production

  • Of the said blocks, eight belong to Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) and the remaining four are under Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL)

  • Ranchi-based CMPDI will prepare the study report on sufficiency of extractable reserves, after which tenders will be floated

New Delhi: Coal India Ltd (CIL) is planning to restore production from its discontinued underground mines and has identified 12 such blocks with provisional mineable reserves of around 1,060 million tonnes. The news assumes significance because the coal miner has to push its coal production to 1 Billion Tonnes by 2023-24. And with the opening up of the sector for commercial coal mining, Coal India will have to compete with private players. “Plans are on the anvil by Coal India to retrieve production from its discontinued underground mines. The company has so far identified 12 such mines,” CIL said in a statement on Thursday.

Of the said blocks, eight belong to Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) and the remaining four are under Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), spread over the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand.

‘Move aimed at increasing coal production via indigenous sources’

“The project is on the drawing board but CIL aims to start the process soon to bring these mines back to active production. This is in effort to increase production through indigenous sources,” the company said. CIL is keen on fast tracking the issue once Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI), its in-house mine consultancy arm that has been entrusted to prepare a data dossier, submits its report on the feasibility.

Also read: 54 mining projects of CIL behind schedule due to delay in getting green nod

These mines were discontinued not because of exhaustion of reserves but on several considerations like difficult geo-mining conditions, economic unviability and non-availability of suitable methods to extract deep-seated reserves at the time, the statement said. These mines combined have substantial reserves, said Coal India in the statement. While the eight mines of ECL have projected estimated reserve of around 596 million tonnes (MT), the four mines belonging to BCCL add up to 464 MT.

After CMPDI prepares feasibility report, tenders will be floated

Coal of underground mines is generally of high quality and the ECL mines have coal of varying grades between G3 and G7, with one mine having coking coal which is used in steel making. All four mines of BCCL are of coking coal reserves which are scarce in the country. Ranchi-based CMPDI will prepare the study report on sufficiency of extractable reserves in consultation with the concerned subsidiary coal companies to prepare a detailed list for revisiting the discontinued mines for production.

Subsequently, coal companies will float tenders as per their requirement to engage suitable mine developer and operators and others having requisite technical knowhow to pursue the operations on their behalf, the company said. Different mines were discontinued in different years in the past, some dating back to more than 20 years. “With the advancement of technologies in the coal mining sector, it is possible to extract the locked-in coal reserves of these mines and this prompted us to explore the option,” CIL said.

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