The mining behemoth is now keeping seams exposed removing the top soil so that coal can be extracted as soon as the demand picks up.
PSU miner Coal India (CIL) has now limited mining only to Over Burden Removal (OBR) with falling demand of coal. The mining behemoth is now keeping seams exposed removing the top soil so that coal can be extracted as soon as the demand picks up.
OBR is an integral part of coal mining and the first stage in the process. Through exposed seams it can be easily estimated how much of coal has actually been mined, a CIL official told FE.
CIL has already been flushed with pit head stock and reserves at the power plants are at an all time high. As of April 1, this year, pit head stocks are 75 million tonne (MT) while reserves at power plants are 50 MT, maintaining over 30 days stock above the required level of 22 days as mandated by the Central Electricity Authority. So, extracting further coal from the mines and creating a huge stock pile would endanger the mines with chances of catching fire.
So, CIL for now is only exposing seams keeping coal ready for extraction as soon as the demand picks up. The company has also started reporting growth in terms of OB removal. CIL has kept a target of producing 710 mt for FY 21, which is huge jump from the 602 mt it has achieved this fiscal. CIL fell short of target by 58 mt during FY20 but in FY21 it wants to remain on target, for which it has concentrated on speedy OB removal, a CIL official said.
OB removal grew 10.4% during May, against OB removed during April this year, while production of coal and off take grew by 2.6% and 2.3%, respectively on a month-to-month basis. The miner as a whole produced 41.43 mt of coal in May compared to 40.38 mt in April.
Amid a crippled demand, coal sales expanded 0.9 mt during May in terms of volume. Offtake was up at 39.95 mt during May as compared to 39 mt in April.
Non-power sector, which always starved of coal showed an impressive growth of 37.3% in off take during May with supplies in absolute terms at 9.76 mt. These are positive signs of CIL ramping up production, a CIL official said, adding though demand for coal was yet to pick up.