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Govt eyes dozen new mines, increasing mechanized loading to reduce air pollution under 100 day plan

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Govt eyes dozen new mines, increasing mechanized loading to reduce air pollution under 100 day plan

New Delhi: As part of the newly established Central government’s 100-day goal, the union coal ministry intends to operationalize 12 new coal mines.

India is one of the biggest producers of coal in the world, with record-breaking production of 997.4 million tonnes in FY24. Despite not reaching the government’s 1-billion-ton objective in the previous fiscal year, output is predicted to exceed that amount this year (FY25).

“The government intends to operationalize 12 new mines within the 100-day plan. According to someone with knowledge of the plan, it also intends to boost the amount of coal loading that is mechanised by 20 percentage points, or around 33% of all coal loaded. The source went on to say that these mines would comprise both commercial and captive mines as well as those owned by state-run enterprises.

This development coincides with the government’s plans to hold this week’s second round of auctions for commercial coal mines. This tenth round of auctions will have roughly sixty-two blocks.

The focus on opening new mines coincides with a growing global movement to replace fossil fuels, the primary driver of climate change, with renewable energy sources, as the need for coal for power generation increases during the sweltering summer months.

By the end of the decade, the government wants to increase annual coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes, with the maximum yearly output of 2 billion tonnes coming from mines that are rated at their peak.

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Nine new mines in all began production in FY24. Twenty additional mines would be put into operation by the end of the year, according to a Press Trust of India story published in April.

This drive to open additional mines is consistent with the government’s goal of eliminating coal imports by the year FY26.

According to the aforementioned sources, emphasising the mechanisation of coal loading and handling will increase productivity and lessen air pollution that arises from moving coal via trucks.

According to the second source, establishing command and control centres at each of the seven coal-producing subsidiaries of the state-owned Coal India Ltd. would be one of the other major initiatives included in the 100-day agenda. Since Western Coalfields has already established one, the ministry now wishes to expedite the procedure in the remaining six subsidiaries.

Plan for Coal Logistics
Under the Coal Logistics Plan, the establishment of such centres for the nation’s coal mines has been discussed; however, the ministry’s goal for the 100-day agenda is to expedite the process and establish a centre for each Coal India subsidiary.

Consignment security, tracked productivity, flow rate, and the detection of bottlenecks in the mining and logistical process for immediate remedial action are all made possible with the help of a command and control centre.

According to a June 13 story in The Economic Times, the ministry is also anticipated to request permission from the Union Cabinet for a coal exchange within the first 100 days of the government.

On Thursday, the ministry convened its first review meeting under the leadership of G. Kishan Reddy, the recently appointed coal minister. This week, he is scheduled to begin the tenth round of commercial coal block auctions.

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