Balco, part of Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd, has approached the Environment Ministry to seek clearance for the revised mine plan for Chotia coal block located in Chhattisgarh.
The company recently informed the Coal Ministry that the prior allottee (of Chotia coal block) did not create any mining infrastructure in the underground parts and only mined the opencast portion of Chotia I coal block which is exhausted, an official said.
The coal block consists of two parts, Chotia I and II, the official said.
As a result, currently, mining is only possible in the open cast portion of Chotia II, the official added.
“The successful bidder (Balco) has revised the Mine Plan accordingly and applied for environment clearance (EC),” the official said.
Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco) had won the mine during the first phase of coal mine auctions in February 2015.
The mine has a capacity of one million tonne per annum.
Known for its high quality coal reserves Balco had bid a price of Rs 3,025 per tonne during the auctions.
The company had earlier said that Chotia mine was an integral part of Balco’s strategy.
“It will add to our coal security by a reasonable margin.
Aluminium production is a power intensive process and our captive power plants need to source coal at viable rates,” it had said adding that “the Chotia mine with its capacity of one million tonne per annum will directly feed our captive power plants....”
Balco has set up a 600 MW captive Power Plant at Korba District to meet its power requirement for manufacturing of aluminium products. All together Rs 2,519.77 crore has been spent on construction of the captive power plant.
As manufacturing of aluminium products is power guzzling process, therefore coal from Chotia-II coal mine is essential to start up the 600 MW captive power plant and sustain the aluminium production.