Govt permits captive coal block exploration by private cos

Govt permits captive coal block exploration by private cos

New Delhi: Ending monopoly of state-run mapping and exploration agencies like CMPDI, the government has permitted companies in possession of captive coal blocks to get further examination of the asset done by private firms.

“Any company, which has been allocated coal blocks for captive use, is free to get the further exploration done by private agencies," a top Coal Ministry official said.

This may come as a breather for steel and power utilities in possession of such blocks as it would ease out the processes, hitherto involved in getting the exploration work done by state agencies.

Earlier, state-run companies like Central Mine Planning and Design Institute and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd were responsible for carrying out detailed examination of captive coal blocks.

As per the new provision, the government has laid certain guidelines, including drilling specifications and depth, for carrying out detailed exploration.

“The companies will need to follow guidelines laid by government. We will keep a track of it," he said.

The official said that relaxing the exploration norms would help expanding the ambit of government agencies as they will be able to concentrate more on bringing virgin territories under their belt.

Presently, around 190 captive coal blocks have been allocated to private and public companies with an estimated reserve of about 41 billion tonnes.

Government has asked CMPDI and Geological Survey of India to increase their mapping capacities manifold and outsource exploration activities if the need be to match the spiralling demand for raw materials.