KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) – Northern Coalfields Limited (NLC), the wholly-owned operational subsidiary of State-run Coal India Limited (CIL), will invest an additional $612-million over the next three months of current financial year to hit its 100-million-ton-a-year production target.
Should it meet that target by the end of March next year with the incremental investment, NLC will be only the third CIL-operational subsidiary to achieve such a production level.
At the current rate of expansion, NLC will be on target to produce 115-million tons a year by 2023, through the expansion of its existing Jayant and Dudhichua mines and completing the development of the greenfield coal block of Semaria, with the latter adding two-million tons a year of production to the miner, company officials said.
NLC’s operational hinterland stretches across the Singrauli coal belt spanning central state of Madhya Pradhesh and small parts of Uttar Pradesh, in northern India.
The bulk of the miner’s current production cater to pit-head power plants with aggregate generating capacity of 13 000 MW operated by State-run power utility, NTPC and Lanco in the private sector. NLC expects that with ramped up coal production by end of current financial year, it would be able to feed 25-million tons a year of dry fuel to other thermal power plants across the country facing a shortage of coal.
However, the officials concede that despite higher coal volume available for supplies to non-pithead thermal power plants, evacuation and transportation of coal will continue to be logistical bottleneck for the next two to three years, until State transporter Indian Railways completed laying new tracks across 440 km, at a cost of $671 million.