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COAL QUALITY AND QUANTITY IN INDIA

"India’s coal mining has a long history starting form 1774 when Sumer and Heatly of the East India Company began mining the Raniganj coalfield along the western bank of river Damodar. India’s large coal reserves have been its main source of energy since then. In 1853, with the introduction of the steam locomotive, Indian coal mining received a boost after poor exploitation for about a century. With heightened demand, coal production increased rapidly within a short span–from 6.12 million tonnes (mts) per year in 1900 to 18 mts per year by 1920. After the First World War, production reached 29 mts in 1942 and 30 mts in 1946 (Ministry of Coal, 2017a). India’s independence led to a further rise in production. The national coal development corporation (NCDC) was established in 1956 with the felt need of scientific and systematic coal mining. The oil price shock in early 70’s and the growing realization that the coal sector was not going to be successful in hands of private stakeholders led to it being nationalized. Undertaken in phases, Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971, Coking Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1972, Coal Mines (Taking over of Management) Act, 1973 and Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973, were implemented. Subsequently, Coal India Limited (CIL) was established in 1975 to manage coal mines. Nationalization was done with a view

  • to halt wasteful, selective and slaughter mining and put in place planned development of available coal resources;
  • to improve safety standards;
  • ensure adequate investment for optimal utilization consistent with growth needs; and,
  • to improve the quality of life of the work force (Coal India Limited, 2017a).

TCoal quantity India now ranks as the third largest coal producing country in the world after China and USA. It has been estimated that the country has 301.56 billion tonnes of coal and currently it meets about 55 per cent of India’s primary commercial energy needs (Ministry of Coal, 2017b). About 75 per cent of power generation is coal based in India. As of 2015-16, the country has been producing about 639 mts of coal per year (Coal Controller’s Organization, 2016; Ministry of Coal, 2017b and 2017c). Odisha leads in the production of coal, followed by Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and West Bengal. In India coal is broadly classified into two types–coking and non-coking. Coking coal is primarily used in steel and metallurgical industries whereas non-coking coal is used for power generation. There are further divisions which include–semi-coking coal, mainly used as bendable coal in steel making, merchant coke manufacturing and other metallurgical industries. Washed coking coal is used in manufacturing of hard coke for steel making and washed non-coking coal is used mainly for power generation. Middling and rejects are used in boilers for power generation, road repairs, briquette making, land filling, brick manufacturing units and cement plants (Coal Controller’s Organization, 2016). Coal quality Categorized or graded based on type, ash content, moisture content, useful heat value (UHV) and gross calorific value (GCV), India’s coal has a deep inventory. Coking coal is graded on the basis of ash content, while semi-coking coal is graded based on ash and moisture content, and non-coking coal is graded based on three parameters–UHV, ash and moisture content and GCV. Coal production in the country is dominated by non-coking coal as coking coal reserves in the country are limited. High production of non-coking coal is also due to demand from the power sector. Though India is doing exceptionally in coal production to fulfil the energy demands of the country, quality of coal has always remained a matter of concern, especially for power sector as India’s coal has a high ash and low calorific content (Chikkatur, 2008). Coal production in top seven states of India, 2006-16.