Coal India aims 60k-tonnes-a-day output from Rajmahal mine

KOLKATA: State-run Coal India aims to raise output from its troubled Rajmahal mine in Jharkhand to 60,000 tonnes a day by March 2019, having resolved land-acquisition related problems which had crimped production to 20,000 tonnes per day.

Coal from the Rajmahal mine helps NTPC run close to 4,200 mw of power generation plants in eastern India, which supply power to Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, and also to northern India including Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. NTPC’s generation capacities were faced with depleting coal stocks and lower power generation as supplies from Rajmahal dwindled.

Reserves at Rajmahal within the land acquired by Coal India were almost exhausted and required expansion to keep production levels intact. However, land acquisition at two villages – Bansbiha and Taljhari—spanning 160 hectares, adjacent to the existing project turned out to be a lengthy process, as sorting out ownership issues resulted in inordinate delay. It led to drastic fall in supplies and stocks at the coalfield, as well as at two critical power plants in the region—at Farakka and Kahalgaon.

“With the active collaboration of the Centre and the state, land acquisition issue has been sorted to a great extent, and we could acquire additional land for the mine to expand production. The project had run out of land due to acquisition delays. Production level from the mine has now increased to 50,000 tonnes a day and we hope to touch 60,000 tonnes daily by March next year,” said a senior executive of Coal India.

At present, Coal India is using 15 goods trains to transport coal from the Rajmahal mine to power stations in the region. One goods train can load up to 3,500 tonnes of coal. Coal India is also sending five loaded goods trains from West Bengal’s Ranigunj coalfields to augment supplies at power stations.

“Coal India is ready to send three more goods trains to power stations from Ranigunj coalfields if the railways can provide additional rakes,” the executive said.

At present, the entire production from Rajmahal is getting delivered to power plants and there has been no stock buildup yet. “However, we hope to jack up inventories in the near future when demand for power falls during winter and our production from the mines touches 60,000 tonnes a day,” the executive said.

A senior NTPC executive said supplies from Rajmahal have improved significantly.


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