Imports of non coking coal could be cut drastically by fiscal 2025-26 on the back of increased output of dry fuel in the country, P M Prasad, Chairman and Managing Director of Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) said.
The chairman of the Coal India subsidiary said the world's largest coal miner, Coal India Ltd, would be able to produce one billion tonnes by FY26.
"We have to see that targets are in place. Last year (fiscal 2022-23) we (Coal India) produced 703 million tonne. The target for FY 24 is 780 MT and FY 25 is 880 MT, Prasad, whose name was recommended by the PESB earlier this month for the job of CMD of Coal India Ltd, told PTI.
He added that the CIL production will touch one billion tonnes in FY 26.
If we achieve this, definitely imports of non-coking coal will be reduced....within three years non coking coal imports can be brought down to a minimum level," Prasad said.
India's overall coal production has witnessed a quantum jump to 893.08 MT in FY 2022-23 as compared to 728.72 MT in FY 2018-2019 with a growth of about 22.6 per cent.
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The priority of the Coal Ministry is to enhance domestic coal production to reduce dependence on coal imports.
Prasad said apart from Coal India, NTPC, DVC, SCCL and other entities are also making endeavours for increased coal output that is bound to reduce imports.
"In the sector if you see other than Coal India, there is NTPC. Last year their production was about 24 MT ... this year they are targeting about 34 MT...DVC might start a mine. SCCL is there besides other power plant producers and state Gencos and State mining corporations ..coal output is bound to increase, he said.
Non coking coal is mainly used as thermal coal for power generation.
He said efforts are also on to increase coking coal production by Coal India arms - BCCL and CCL- to reduce dependence on coking coal imports.
The production of coking coal by Coal India Ltd (CIL) rose by 17.2 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 54.6 MT in 2022-23. The state-owned miner produced 46.6 MT coking coal during 2021-22.
Under 'Mission Coking Coal', the government has set a target of enhancing coking coal production from 52 MT in FY 2022 to 140 MT in FY 2030 besides enhancing coking coal washing capacity from 23 MT in FY 2022 to 61 MT in FY 2023.
Coking coal is mainly used in the manufacturing of steel through blast furnace route.
Domestic coking coal is high in ash content and is not suitable for direct use in the blast furnace. Therefore, Indian coking coal has to be washed to reduce its ash percentage and Indian prime and medium coking coal is blended with imported coking coal ( which has less than 9 per cent ash content) before use in blast furnaces.
The total coal imports in FY23 were at 249.06 MT, up from 200.71 MT in FY22, a rise of over 24 per cent, according to a B2B e-commerce platform, mjunction services limited.
CIL is the largest coal producer in the world and one of the largest corporate employers with a manpower of 2,48,550. It functions through its subsidiaries in 84 mining areas spread over eight states of India. It has 318 mines (as of 1st April 2022) of which 141 are underground, 158 opencast, and 19 mixed mines.
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