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India could end coal imports in three years, says minister

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World Coal,

A doubling of domestic coal production is “possible”, according to Piyush Goyal, minister for power and coal. The country currently produces 565 million tpa; of this, state-owned miner Coal India (CIL) mines 490 million t – a figure that the government has asked it to double to 1 billion t by 2019 as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to provide 24/7 power to all Indians by 2022.

The ramp up of CIL’s coal output could also see an end to thermal coal imports, continued Goyal, saying it might be possible to stop shipments of coal within the next three years.

Imports rose to 168.4 million t in the last financial year as CIL failed to mine enough coal to meet the country’s growing demand, leaving many of the country’s power plants with critically low levels of the fuel.

This has left some skeptical of CIL’s ability to boost production so quickly: “India’s reliance on imports is not going away any time soon,” Prakesh Duvvuri, head of research at OreTeam told Reuters. “Obviously coal demand will continue to mean imports are needed in India.”

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