Exclusive: India to see 2% dip in coal import as production set to breach 1-BT mark for first time
New Delhi: As India is on course to achieve its highest-ever coal production on record of 1 Billion Tonne (BT) in FY2023-24, it is likely to also see a 2 percent decline in overall coal imports, PSU Watch has learnt. In an exclusive interview with PSU Watch, Coal Secretary Amrit Lal Meena said that the government is hopeful about ending FY24 with 19 percent coal imports. “As a result of increased coal production, the share of imported coal has gone down. Out of the total coal that was being consumed, 26 percent was imported coal. Last year, it went down to 21 percent. And this year, there has been further reduction. By the end of this fiscal year, we are hopeful that imported coal consumption in India will go down to 19 percent in the total coal consumption basket.”
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Coal production in Apr-Dec 2023 period went up by 12.47%
The cumulative coal production (up to December 2023) has seen a quantum jump to 684.31 MT in FY23-24 as compared to 608.34 MT during the same period in FY22-23, registering a growth of 12.47 percent. At least nine commercial coal mines are also expected to start production before the end of FY24, adding more production capacity.
Sufficient coal to meet rise in power demand next year: Coal Secretary
The Coal Secretary exuded optimism about the availability of coal in the next financial year, saying that there will be sufficient coal to meet the surge in demand from the power sector. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has forecast an all-India peak power demand of 256.53 GW in financial year (FY) 2024-25.
The Secretary said that India will be targeting to produce around 1.12 BT of coal in the next fiscal year, which will further bring down import of coal from 4.5 percent to 2 percent.
India is aiming to be self-sufficient in thermal coal and reduce imports to zero by FY2025-26. India has the world’s fifth-largest reserves of coal, most of which is non-coking coal that can be used for power generation. Yet India has been importing coal for power generation in the face of an unprecedented rise in power demand year after year since 2021.