New Delhi: Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Monday said Coal India will set up 20 new washeries with a combined capacity of 111 million tonnes to help realize a better price for its produce.
“Twenty new washeries with an annual capacity of 111 million tonnes per annum are being taken up by Coal India Ltd (CIL) during the XI and XII Five-Year Plans,” Jaiswal said at a coal gas summit here.
At present, CIL operates 17 coal washeries, out of which 11 are coking coal and the remaining are non-coking coal washeries, with a total capacity of 39.40 million tonnes per annum.
The ministry had earlier estimated that establishment of the new washeries would require an investment of Rs2,500 crore, with a view to reduce the ash content in coal produced by CIL and improve its calorific value, among other things.
Indian coal has high ash content. The average ash content in Indian coal is 35-38%. In this regard, washing will help reduce the ash content by 7-8%.
The coal washeries will help Coal India, the world’s largest producer of the dry fuel, garner a better price for its output.
The minister had earlier said that all of CIL’s new mining projects with a capacity of two million tonnes per annum or more would have in-built washeries to enhance the quality of coal, as a matter of policy.
“A number of private operators are already into coal washing in the country and the power sector has started using washed coal for power generation, considering its economic and environmental benefits,” Jaiswal said.
Coal washing is being promoted in the country as a number of studies have shown that washed coal has higher calorific value than unwashed coal, translating into better power generation efficiency. The lower ash content of washed coal results in lower emissions as well.