By Debjoy Sengupta
March 1, 2019 - Coal India has decided to reopen a number of mines that were closed earlier due to safety or viability issues. It is an endeavour to generate local employment and increase production of higher grade of coal.
Subsidiaries such as Central Coalfields — which had closed three mines — and Bharat Coking Coal — that has many such mines — are collating data and assessing feasibility.
“Once ascertained, we would make sure safety issues are addressed and work on receiving environment clearances,” said Gopal Singh, chairman and managing director at Central Coalfields. He also holds additional charge of chairman of Bharat Coking Coal.
“Reopening mines will generate employment for locals and produce more coal, which will help in furthering the country’s effort towards providing affordable electricity for all and generating employment,” he said.
A senior Coal India executive said surplus manpower can also be deployed at such mines.
On Monday, Central Coalfields reopened the Rajhara coal mine in Jharkhand, where operations had been suspended since 2010 due to safety concerns.
A senior Coal India executive said the mine was opened on Monday after getting environmental clearance on February 14.
Rajhara was initially an underground mine but after nationalization it was converted into an opencast mine to recover good quality reserves of coal which otherwise would have been lost.
The mine, located close to Sadabah river, a tributary of North Koel, had to be closed since operations were below the high flood level of the river.
“We took several corrective and precautionary measures for safety of mine and its environmental clearance so that the mine could be reopened,” said a senior executive from Central Coalfields.
Expected grade of coal from the mine is G9 which is priced at Rs 1465 per tonne for the power sector. Existing reserves in the mine is estimated at 5 million tonnes. With a capacity to extract 3 lakh tonnes of coal per year, the life of the mine is pegged at 18 years.