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New Delhi: India will not be moving away from coal in the foreseeable future as coal demand in the country is yet to peak and it will continue to play an important role in the energy mix , said Union coal minister Pralhad Joshi said at a parliamentary consultative committee meeting.

“Coal demand in the country is yet to peak and will continue to play an important role in the energy mix till 2040 and beyond. Thus, no transition away from coal is happening in foreseeable future in India," the minister said.

The minister chaired a meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Ministry of Coal today in Indore, Madhya Pradesh to discuss an emerging issue related to coal sector on Coal Mine Closure - Achieving Just Transition for All.

Joshi informed the committee members that there is a global thrust on energy transition away from coal. However, for India, coal being an affordable source of energy, holds prime importance for meeting its energy needs being fuelled by rising economy.

“Coal accounts for more than 51% of country’s primary energy requirement and around 73% of power generation. Also, coal is one of the important ingredients in production of steel, sponge iron, aluminium, cement, paper, bricks etc," Joshi said.

During the meeting, a presentation was made by joint secretary, Ministry of Coal whereby it was informed that although there are no immediate challenges of coal phase down, the coal companies will have to manage the closure of already abandoned mines and coal mines that will close normally in near future - in a manner aligned to Just Transition principles.

The existing mine closure guidelines are still evolving. These guidelines primarily focus on physical and environmental aspects of mine closure and do not address properly social aspects of mine closure and repurposing of land and infrastructure assets. Hence, there is a need for developing a uniform comprehensive sustainable mine closure framework on Just Transition principles along with development of an appropriate institutional arrangement and funding mechanism covering every aspect of mine closure.

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