The government expects that the 1 billion tonne coal production target will enable it to stop imports of thermal coal in two and a half years, which will soften pressure on current account deficit.
Minister of state for coal power and renewable energy Piyush Goyal said the government intends to stop imports of low-grade thermal coal in over two years with coal production already on a growth trajectory.
“We have achieved a production growth of 32 million tonne in 2014-15, against a production growth of 31 million tonne in a cumulative 4-year period between 2011 and 2014. Our growth has been 11.1% in 43 days of the current year. At this level of growth, the country will be able to produce enough coal so as to substitute imports of thermal coal in next two and half years. But we will continue to import high grade coking coal, mainly used for steel production,” Goyal said.
India imported around 160 mt of coal in FY15, of which 120 mt was low-grade thermal coal.
Goyal said the growth in coal production will match the growing requirement of electricity, expected to be 2 trillion units in the near future. With the projected coal demand of the country hovering at 1,200 million tonne by 2020, at an envisaged growth rate of 7%, CIL is expected to chip in 1 billion tonne, of which 908 mt is expected to come from identified projects.
“We have already identified the big picture and now we have done mine-by-mine planning to ensure the target, Goyal said, adding investment to achieve the target will be to the tune of $20-25 billion, of which a part will be deployed for equity funding in infrastructure projects being developed for coal evacuation.
CIL was basically be relying on timely completion of three critical railway lines, timely land acquisition and timely green clearances through which it could ensure achieving its target.
According to Goyal, about 70 new mines in the public sector, 30 state government-owned mines and 70-80 mines from the private players would ensure the targeted production. Besides, there were scopes of incremental production from the existing mines along with an opportunity to stretch the expansion projects four to five times.
CIL has created coal project monitoring group portal for regular monitoring of project-related issues with different ministries and state authorities. CIL has also decided to purchase 2,000 railway wagons for facilitating coal evacuation, CIL chairman and managing director Sutirtha Bhattacharyya said.
Goyal, on Friday, inaugurated the new office building of CIL in presence of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.