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Foreign cos may develop some Coal India projects: Goyal

‘For augmentation of coal production in the country, a few projects of CIL have been identified for operation under mine developer cum operator route, where international as well as domestic operator may take part, where mining charges will be paid to the bidder duly discovered through bidding process,’ Goyal said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

The statement comes at a time when the demand supply gap of coal is widening in the country and has touched 171 million tonnes (MT) during the last fiscal.

‘As per...the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act, 1973, a private company can carry on coal mining operation for specified end use (captive use) only and the coal so mines is not allowed for sale,’ the minister said. In a separate reply, he said the government had approved 15 projects for Coal India for the five-year plan period of 2012-2017.

Coal India, which accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal production, produced 462 MT in the last fiscal — missing the target of 482 MT.

Meanwhile, the government is preparing a draft policy on underground coal gasification. ‘A draft policy is under formulation for development of underground coal gasification from unexplored coal and lignite bearing areas in the country,’ Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. 

Underground coal gasification (UCG) is a method of converting coal still in the ground to a combustible gas that can be used for various uses, including power generation.

‘Further, production of syngas through coal gasification (underground and surface) and coal
liquefaction have been notified as end uses for the purpose of Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act. 1973 and Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957,’ Goyal said.

Two coal blocks— Yellendu (Dip Side) in Telangana and Bandha-Singrauli Main Basin in MP — and five lignite blocks have been identified for offer for development of UCG, he said. The lignite mines are Sindhari West, Chokla North, Nimbalkot and Nagurda in Barmer, Rajasthan and Dungra in Surat, Gujarat.

Vastan Lignite block in Gujarat has been identified for UCG purpose for government companies in the state and the applications for the same have been invited, Goyal said. Coal India Ltd (CIL) is also contemplating to develop UCG projects within its command area.
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