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Jhanjra underground mining project given all-clear

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World Coal,

Coal India has been given the all-clear by the environment ministry to expand the Jhanjra underground mining project in West Bengal. The expansion will assist the state monopoly extract coal worth more than Rs 8000 crore without damaging forests.

Coal India is under pressure to boost production. The company normally depends on opencast mining, which is easier and cheaper, but faces problems as this technique often requires uprooting of trees and displacing of residents. Underground mining is much more common in countries such as Australia or China.

At the present, India has very few underground coal mines, although the environment ministry feels that utilising dense forest land sitting atop mineral reserves may be an effective answer to production concerns.

Pending clearance since 2012, the Jhanjra mine is very important for Coal India's plans to expand. Coal India is now focusing on underground mines and switching to partial mechanisation for increasing coal extraction from them.

As per the state government's proposal, the total geological coal reserves are 62.22 million t, of which 21.19 million t, or almost 34% of the total, are available.

Edited from source by Joseph Green. Source: Economic Times

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