CIL scouts for 3-D tech for advanced coal hunt

Coal India (CIL) is eyeing to get advanced coal exploration technologies from countries such as Germany, China, Australia, Canada, the US and UK.

The 3-D (three-dimensional) seismic technology has not been used for coal exploration in India so far. CIL seeks to deploy it on pilot basis at a coal block that would be identified later.

3-D technology uses sound waves to form sharp three-dimensional images of underground formations.

CIL’s technical director NC Jha told a business daily that 3-D technology would be used to decipher the location and quantity of coal available under the earth’s surface. The results would be faster and more accurate than the present way of exploration through digging bore wells or 2-D (two-dimensional) seismic survey for coal deposits, he said.

CMPDIL, a wholly-owned research arm of the state-run coal major, has sought an expression of interest (EoI) from international players to outsource coal exploration activities to foreign players with experience in 3-D seismic technology. CMPDIL will float tenders after evaluating the response to the EoI.

“In order to optimise cost, reduce time of drilling boreholes and to enhance confidence levels, CMPDIL plans to introduce an integrated exploration programme for coal exploration, including 3-D seismic surveys,” the EoI said.

The prime concern for exploration at present is to integrate different technologies with an objective to reduce conventional drilling and save time and expenditure in exploration of coal, it said.
At present, about 40 per cent of the total coal resources of the country are in the underproved category.

The remaining 60 per cent of the coal resources are underindicated and inferred categories.

Through the EoI, CPMDIL has sought information on availability of vendors with experience in implementing coal exploration work, including 3-D seismic surveys, budget estimates, and infrastructure support and manpower requirement. The qualified vendor would be responsible for conducting 3-D seismic surveys, interpreting data acquired and submitting a detailed report to CMPDIL.

The overseas company would also be required to impart training to CMPDIL personnel in acquisition, processing and interpretation of 3-D data.

In the memorandum of understating signed for the year 2010-11, CMPDIL and CIL agreed to introduce new technology to expedite coal exploration.

During 2009-10, CMPDI carried out about 470,000 metres of exploratory drilling in about 100 mines covering 25 coalfields through 55 departmental drills and contractual agencies. About 2-3 billion tonnes of proved category coal reserves are established every year by CMPDIL through 15-20 geological reports.

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