Coal India unit shuts three mines after protests

Written by Reuters | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Jul 12 2014, 03:04am hrs
Mahanadi Coalfields, a unit of Coal India Ltd, has stopped operations at three mines in the eastern state of Odisha following protests by locals over company plans to relocate them to make way for planned mine expansion.

More than 100 families are campaigning against the company's plan to shift them about 15 km from their homes around the mines, a company spokesman and a government officer told Reuters on Friday.

Such protests are common in India and are among the reasons Coal India, world's largest coal miner, struggles to meet its output targets.

The halted mines produce 100,000 tonnnes of coal per day, contributing a third of Mahanadi Coalfields' total output. The company had forecast a 15 percent rise in production to 127 million tonnes for this fiscal year ending March 31 2015.

Mahanadi spokesman Dikken Mehra said if the three mines remain shut, it would mean a suspension of coal supply to power plants in Tamil Nadu, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh states.

Sachin Ramachandra Jadhav, chief administrative officer of the district where the mines are located, said he was in talks with both parties and mining would resume soon.