Kolkata: Coal India Ltd (CIL) may have to supply up to 360 million tonnes (mt) to power producers in 2012-13, around 50 mt, or 16%, more than in the year ended 31 March, chairman and managing director S. Narsing Rao said on Tuesday.
The miner’s production target for the current year is 464 mt, which according to Rao, is “quite a challenge”. In fiscal 2012, CIL produced 436 mt, of which it sold 311 mt to power producers.
Rao, who took over the reins of the state-owned coal miner on Tuesday, said the company is to sign new fuel supply agreements with 50 power producers this year. Only 8-10 firms have signed new long-term supply agreements since the board finalized the terms last week, he said.
The CIL chief said his immediate priority was to obtain clearance from environmental authorities in states and at the Centre to expand mining. Some 70 projects are stalled for want of clearance, he added.
It typically takes about two-and-a-half years to obtain clearance from the environment authorities, but the firm is facing longer delays. “We will seek the intervention of the coal and power ministries in resolving these problems,” he said.
It is unlikely that coal stocks at power plants will improve immediately despite CIL’s efforts to ramp up production. Rao said coal stocks at power plants had fallen to “critical levels” because of increased power production. To shore up supplies, CIL is looking to liquidate its ground stock of 72 mt at the beginning of the current fiscal year. To expedite despatches, it could allow consumers to take delivery of coal directly from its mines, especially from those that have poor road connectivity.