Coal India (COAL) has announced that it expects its Western Coalfields unit to raise output by 10% to 44 million t in the next fiscal year, due to utilising more sophisticated machinery in its mines.
This first potential output increase in five years from Western Coalfields will help India keep costly imports of coal down, at a time when COAL is struggling to boost its production.
Third largest coal importer
India is the world’s third largest importer of coal, despite sitting on the fifth largest coal reserve (according to BP rankings). This is mainly due to regulatory, environmental and land acquisition delays in starting new mines in India and expanding existing ones.
Western Coalfields chairman, Dinesh Chandra Garg, explained to Reuters that the unit has increased use of loaders and dumpers in its underground mines, is using more conveyor belts and has replaced hand-operated drill machines with universal drill machines.
Garg was unable to predict which mine will help raise Western Coalfields’ production in the next fiscal year, as the COAL subsidiary operates a total of 82 mines, which accounted for approximately 9% of Coal India’s total output of 366.6 million t in the April-January period.
Coal India contributes approximately 80% of the country's output but has been unable to meet growing demand.
Although Western Coalfields' production will rise next year, the fiscal year ending March 31st will see a fall of 5% to 40 million t, Garg added. "The drop in production is because of heavy rains in our main operating state of Maharashtra (in western India). Rains were 200% higher than last year and that had flooded many of our mines," Garg concluded.
Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/mining/18022014/coal_india_western_coalfields_unit_will_raise_output_531/