GMDC has six active lignite mines: BB Swain

Published: December 31, 2014 1:09 AM

Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation is among the most profitable entities of the Gujarat government.

Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) is among the most profitable entities of the Gujarat government. A mining and mineral processing company, GMDC is the largest merchant seller of, lignite in India. It is also a major producer of bauxite, calcined bauxite, fluorspar and manganese ore. Besides, it is engaged in power generation, from conventional and non-conventional sources. In an interview with FE’s Jyotsna Bhatnagar, GMDC managing director BB Swain elaborated on the company’s performance, growth prospects and CSR initiatives.

Excerpts:
GMDC has a presence in conventional power generation and alternative sources like wind and solar. Can you assess the company’s presence and performance in all three sectors and your future expansion plans?
In the last quarter, the power segment generated a revenue of R91.11 crore and the net profit of the power project was R13.63 crore, which is due to the turnaround of the Akrimota Power Thermal Plant. GMDC’s current capacity in the wind power is 150 MW and this year GMDC is planning to add another 50 MW to its portfolio.

Have you been able to consolidate your position as a conventional power producer, especially since the PLF of your power plants had been on the downswing till a couple of years ago?
The PLF of our Akrimota Thermal Power Plant during the fiscal ’12-13 was 42% and in ’13-14, it was 45%. During this half year ended September 2014, it is approximately 60%. That is because GMDC has now collaborated with a South Korean company and that has started showing results with improvements in PLF and profitability.

Could you tell us about your core business of mineral production? Also, are any steps being taken to improve the calorific value of lignite, given that at most places, the quality of lignite is not good?
GMDC’s core strength has been lignite mining. Currently it has six active lignite mines in the state, out of which Umarsar Lignite Mine has been recently started. Similarly, bauxite mining in Gadhsisa (Kutch) has been another forte of GMDC. These two segments of mining operations have generated almost 80% of its total revenues so far. Lignite itself is a lower form of coal with lower calorific value. GMDC is setting up a pyrite removal plant to improve the quality of lignite at Bhavnagar.

What would be the thrust of GMDC’s expansion plans in future?
GMDC is focusing on its core business i.e. mining. The future expansion plans of GMDC will involve exploitation of the recently commenced Umarsar Lignite mine, along with other five active lignite mines. GMDC is also seeking regulatory approvals for doubling its production capacity at Mata no Madh and Bhavnagar lignite mine. Similarly, GMDC has been appointed as the mine developer and operator of the Gujarat Power Corporation’s Surkha lignite mine in Bhavnagar district for mining and supply of lignite to the power project of BECL. GMDC has entered into several strategic partnerships for value addition to base minerals such as bauxite, manganese and fluorspar. It  would also focus on fructification of these value addition projects. Simultaneously, GMDC has also taken up mineral exploration in  new areas in Gujarat.

In the recent past, GMDC has ramped up its CSR activities. What is the quantum of funds you are parking into this and what are the most significant initiatives?
GMDC has undertaken various CSR activities since its inception. It  has been consistent in addressing community development as one of its major focus areas. The company has implemented a micro irrigation scheme for farmers in two talukas of Kutch and five talukas of Bhavnagar districts and has constructed  medium and small check dams and carried out deepening of ponds for water conservation. The company has implemented a ‘special financial assistance scheme’ for girl students of its core zone villages. GMDC also runs well-equipped mobile medical vans with qualified medical officers in rural areas surrounding its projects. Approximately R7.5 crore half yearly is provided towards CSR expense.
In addition, GMDC is also setting up an International Centre of Excellence in Mining Safety and Automation (iCEM) with the Gujarat government. iCEM will serve as global platform for human resource capital, knowledge resources and national and international collaborations, in the fields of mining safety and automation.
We have also promoted an initiative, the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCREATE) for promoting incubation and entrepreneurship to facilitate industrial development in Gujarat.

By Jyotsna Bhatnagar

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