Economic coal reserves need to be identified faster: Coal Secretary to Coal India exploration arm

KOLKATA: New areas for additional coal reserves, economical for mining should be identified at a faster pace, said coal secretary Anil Kr Jain.

“Areas already identified needs to be explored and mining should start at a faster pace,” the secretary said at a workshop organised by Central Mines Planning & Design Institute (CMPDIL) in Ranchi.

He emphasised on the need for a paradigm shift from present exploration method to new technologies according to the statement by CMPDIL.

At the workshop, Sekhar Saran, CMPDIL’s chairman and managing director talked about the introduction of 2D/3D seismic survey and other modern available technologies which may be implemented for faster coal & lignite exploration to cover more area in a shorter time. He also talked about limitations of a seismic survey in the exploration of Indian coal & lignite.

“After detailed deliberation with all experts and stakeholders, a roadmap will be prepared and submitted to the coal ministry for implementation,” the statement by CMPDIL said.

Nevertheless, last year, Coal India’s exploration arm, CMPDIL, added 6.6 billion tonnes of coal to its proven category of reserves – meaning it can be economically extracted and could fuel almost 145 gigawatts of power plants for 10 years. The company also prepared 31 coal mining project reports which when taken up by Coal India could produce 128 million tonnes of additional coal a year.

Addition to the proven the category was achieved through detailed exploration and exploratory drillings in 114 blocks spanning 260 square km.

“In the current year, CMPDIL is targeting exploratory drilling of 13.75 lakh meters of which 5 lakh meters would be departmental while the rest would be outsourced. Given, the recent trend of adding to proven category of reserves, the arm hopes to add at least 5 billion tonnes of additional coal to the existing proven category of reserves this year,” said a senior executive from CMPDIL.

Last year the arm achieved 13.60 lakh meter of drilling, against a target of 13.67 lakh meter, through departmental resources and outsourcing. Last year, the company also added two specialised equipment (Vibroseis ) and analytical software, to its exploration arsenal. These are expected to increase success rates of exploration, the executive said.

Vibroseis, the equipment that was added last year, is a truck-mounted system which uses a large oscillating mass to put a range of frequencies into the earth. It helps estimate the density of matter underground helping miners ascertain the possibility of deposits till at least 800 meters under the earth’s surface. Indian coal typically is found at depths ranging between 300 meters and 600 meters.

At present, 148.8 billion tonnes of coal has been categorised under proven reserves in India and CMPDIL has been adding at least 5 billion tonnes to this reserve every year since 2012. Executives from the company believes, this will rise gradually as advanced machinery are added.


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