In response to numerous requests from potential bidders, the Ministry of Coal has announced an extension of the bid submission deadline for the ongoing 7th round of Commercial Coal Mine auctions. The new deadline for bid submission is now set for June 27, 2023, providing an additional 28 days for interested parties to participate. The previous deadline was May 30, 2023.
The extension comes as part of the ministry’s efforts to promote increased production capacity in the coal sector. To date, the Coal Ministry has allocated or auctioned a total of 133 mines, with a combined Peak Rated Capacity (PRC) of 540 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Out of these, 48 coal mines have already commenced production, contributing to a cumulative PRC of 195 MTPA.
During the ongoing financial year, the production from captive and commercial mines has reached 16.25 million tonnes (MT) as of May 22, 2023. This marks a significant growth of 10.2% compared to the 14.75 MT produced during the same period last year.
In order to facilitate the early development of coal mines by private players, the Ministry is providing necessary support, including assistance in land availability, environment and forest clearances, as well as coordination among various agencies and financial institutions. The Ministry of Coal has set a target of 162 MT production from captive and commercial mines for this financial year.
According to P M Prasad, Chairman and Managing Director of Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL), the increased output of dry fuel in the country is expected to lead to a drastic reduction in non-coking coal imports by fiscal year 2025-26. Non-coking coal is primarily used for power generation. Prasad stated that Coal India Limited, the world’s largest coal miner, aims to produce one billion tonnes by FY26.
Prasad also highlighted the production targets set for Coal India, stating that the company produced 703 million tonnes in 2022-23. The targets for FY24 and FY25 are 780 MT and 880 MT, respectively. India’s overall coal production has witnessed a substantial increase to 893.08 MT in FY 2022-23, compared to 728.72 MT in FY 2018-19. The Ministry of Coal’s priority is to enhance domestic coal production to reduce reliance on imports.
Prasad further mentioned that apart from Coal India, other entities such as NTPC, DVC, SCCL, and state power generation companies are also striving to increase coal output, which will contribute to the reduction of imports. NTPC, for instance, targets a production of about 34 MT this year compared to 24 MT last year. Prasad emphasized that coal output is bound to increase with the efforts of various stakeholders.
In terms of coking coal, Coal India witnessed a year-on-year increase of 17.2% in production, reaching 54.6 MT in 2022-23 compared to 46.6 MT in 2021-22. The government’s ‘Mission Coking Coal’ aims to enhance coking coal production from 52 MT in FY 2022 to 140 MT in FY 2030, along with an increase in coking coal washing capacity from 23 MT in FY 2022 to 61 MT in FY 2023. Coking coal is primarily used in the steel manufacturing process through the blast furnace route. As domestic coking coal has a high ash content and is not suitable