Underground coal production presents opportunity: Minister

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Hyderabad, Nov 7 (UNI) Underground coal mining presents a great opportunity for the country to meet the growing demand for coal, Union Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayana Rao said today.

Addressing the first-ever Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on ''Underground Coal Mining, Challenges and Opportunites'' here, he projected the demand for coal to go up to over 2,000 million tonnes in 2031-32 from 463.5 million in 2006-07 and called for concerted efforts to ensure energy security for the country.

Referring to the decrease in the share of underground coal production to 13 per cent of the total production during 2006-07, the Minister said this was on account of the need to increase production to meet the growing demand of the power sector through the easy option of opencast mining.

The other factors were difficult underground mining conditions, reserves not being amenable to adoption of underground mass production technology, low mechanisation of underground mines and high cost of production, he observed.

Mr Rao said broad strategies should be followed to increase underground coal production, including planning new underground mines with mass production systems like continuous miners and long wall technology where ever feasible, entering into risk or gain sharing agreements with equipment suppliers for guaranteed level of production and maintenance of equipment, training manpower, creating infrastructural facilities for ventilation, coal evacuation and transportation.

It was estimated that 104 million tonnes of coal would be produced outside the domain of Coal India Limited (CIL) and Singareni Collieries Company Limited during 2011-12 as against 17 million tonnes during 2006-07.

UNI

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