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Coal India’s output increased by 23 million tonnes during April-October 2015

Coal production and coal off-take by Coal India Limited (CIL) increased by around 23 Million Tonnes and 26.65 Million Tonnes respectively during April-October of the current fiscal 2015-16.

In the process, the state sector coal behemoth clocked a healthy coal production growth of 9.2%, on a like-to-like comparison, during the first seven months of the current fiscal, while the growth in coal off-take was 9.9%.

CIL produced 273.91 Million Tonnes of coal during April-October 2015 against 250.94 Million Tonnes during same period the previous fiscal registering a growth of 9.2%. Almost all the coal producing subsidiaries of CIL registered positive growth, with Northern Coalfields Limited registering a whopping 18.8% growth. Coal off-take was 295.80 Million Tonnes during April-October 2015 period compared to 269.15 Million Tonnes same period last year. All the producing companies of CIL have registered growth in off-take during the period.

Over Burden Removal, an important performance criterion, that exposes coal for future mining continued its upward surge registering a growth of 37.3% during April-October 2015.

Coal stock inventory at coal fired power utilities of the country is also at comfortable levels. Meanwhile, the Centre today allowed power plants to use imported coal with higher ash content of up to 25 per cent, a move which will allow power producers to source the dry fuel from more countries and cut generation cost.

Power producers were demanding review of the ash-content restriction for efficient utilisation of high grade, low-moisture coal imported from Australia, South Africa and Russia. The Environment Ministry, in a February 2013 order, had restrained ash content in imported coal up to 12 per cent which, the Association of Power Producers said, forced power plants in the coastal region to use only Indonesian coal. “It has now been decided that the ash content in imported coal for ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) shall be 25 per cent maximum subject to ... conditions,” the Environment Ministry said its latest order.

The imported coal-based UMPPs using coal with ash content 12 per cent should conduct annual study to analyse the actual ash content and assess pollution load.

The study report in this regard should be submitted to the ministry, the order said.

“Based on the findings and outcomes of three such studies, the decision shall be further reviewed, if found necessary,” it added. The decision has been taken based on the recommendation of the ministry’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).

The committee had observed that bulk of the imported coal having ash content lower than 12 per cent are typically of Indonesian origin having high moisture content of about 30-40 per cent, while imported coal from Australia, Russia, the USA and Columbia have ash content of about 25 per cent with moisture content up to 15 per cent.

The Committee had further noted that lesser the ash generation, the lesser would be its environmental impact.

However, by restricting the ash content up to 12 per cent, the source of coal gets restricted to a particular origin and thus the price competitiveness may have to be compromised.

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