Govt eyes dozen new mines, increasing mechanized loading to reduce air pollution under 100 day plan

  • India is among the world’s largest miners of the fossil fuel, with coal production touching a record 997.4 million tonnes in FY24.

Rituraj Baruah, Subhash Narayan
First Published17 Jun 2024, 06:30 AM IST
The nation-wide coal production fell short of the 1 billion tonne target last fiscal.
The nation-wide coal production fell short of the 1 billion tonne target last fiscal.

New Delhi: The union coal ministry plans to operationalize 12 new coal mines as part of the 100-day agenda of the newly formed Central government.

India is among the world’s largest miners of the fossil fuel, with coal production touching a record 997.4 million tonnes in FY24. Although production fell short of the government's 1-billion tonne target last fiscal, it is expected to surpass that mark this year (FY25).

Also read |  Government to offer 62 coal blocks in auctions next week

"Under the 100 day plan, the ministry plans to operationalize 12 new mines. It also plans to increase mechanization of coal loading by 20 percentage points to around 33% (of all coal loaded)," said a person aware of the plan. These mines would include those of state-run companies along with other captive and commercial mines, the person added.

Set for next round of auctions

The development comes at a time when the government is set to launch the next round of auctions for commercial coal mines in this week. About 62 blocks will be offered by in this 10th round of auctions.

The focus on launching new mines comes at a time when the demand of coal for power generation is gaining momentum in a hot summer, even as a global push mounts for replacing fossil fuels – the main cause of climate change—with renewable sources of energy. 

The government aims to take annual coal production to 1.5 billion tonne by the end of the decade with the peak rated capacity of mines—the highest possible annual output—at 2 billion tonnes.

In FY24, a total of nine new mines started production. In April, the Press Trust of India reported that by the end of this year 20 new mines would be made operational.

Also read |  Coal India stock gains 113% in 10 months, up 235% in 3 years

This push for new mines is in line with the government's target to stop importing coal for power generation by FY26.

The focus on mechanization of coal loading and handling will improve efficiency and reducing air pollution which is caused while transporting coal through trucks, the people cited above said.

The second person said other key plans under the 100-day agenda would be setting up of command and control centres at all the seven coal-producing subsidiaries of state-run Coal India Ltd. One has already been set up at Western Coalfields, and the ministry now wants to fast-track the process in the remaining six subsidiaries

Coal Logistics Plan

There have been consideration to set up such centres for coal mines in the country under the Coal Logistics Plan but in the 100-day agenda, the ministry was wants to fastrack the process and set up a centre each for every Coal India subsidiary.

A command and control centre assists in ensuring consignment security, monitored productivity, speed of flow, and identification of bottlenecks in the mining and logistic process for corrective action in real time.

Also read |  As Europe’s carbon tax hovers closer, India rushes steelmakers to go green

The ministry is also expected to seek approval for a coal exchange from the Union Cabinet within the first 100 days of the government, The Economic Times reported on 13 June.

G. Kishan Reddy, the newly appointed coal minister took charge of the ministry on Thursday, when he held its first review meeting. He is set to launch the 10th round of commercial coal block auctions this week.

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First Published:17 Jun 2024, 06:30 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaGovt eyes dozen new mines, increasing mechanized loading to reduce air pollution under 100 day plan

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