Northern Coalfields (NCL), a Coal India subsidiary, will soon use drones for survey and ground profiling of four mines of its ten mines with director general of civil aviation (DGCA) already clearing its use. NCL’s chairman and MD TK Nag said that after getting clearance from the DGCA, the CIL subsidiary is at present waiting for the defence and home ministries’ nod to use drones in its mining operations. “Technology is crucial to our mines and we are constantly in the process of upgrading these mines,” Nag said, adding that operator independent truck dispatch system (OITDS) has been introduced in five mega projects having rated capacity of 10 million tonne or more, and laser scanner for survey and monitoring is also being used in the mines. NCL was also using simulator for training dumper operators, Nag said. NCL has large opencast mines with 3 mt to 20 mt production capacity. There are seven mines having 4 mt and above rated production capacity. All these mines are operated with draglines & shovel-dumper combination. The CIL subsidiary has been given a target of producing 110 mt by 2019, maintaining a CAGR of 6.52%. In FY18, the company expects to achieve 7% year-on-year growth rate with 90 mt of production, up from 84.10 mt in FY17, which clocked a 5% y-o-y growth.
“If we have to increase on our production, we will have to adopt more technology into our mining system. Our plan is to procure higher capacity draglines, shovels, dumpers, dozers and introduce digital drive in draglines and shovels. We will provide online real-time monitoring interface facility for monitoring vital data of equipment and payload as well as monitor vehicle health. Proximity warning device, rear view camera, audio visual alarm, tail gate protection or anti-collision device would also be installed to facilitate operational efficiency,” Nag said. Non-destructive testing facility has been adopted to ensure structural stability of mines and equipment, the CMD said.
While all these comes under the Rs 2,600-crore mine expansion plan, the company has estimated that it has resources of sustained production of 100 mt a year for 45 years.