Coal India to restart excavation in 18 abandoned mines

August 13th, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Aparajita Gupta
Kolkata, Aug 13 (IANS) The largest coal mining company of the country, Coal India Ltd (CIL), will extract coal from 18 abandoned underground mines owned by three of its subsidiaries - Eastern Coalfields Ltd, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd and Central Coalfields Ltd - in partnership with private players, a company official said. “Underground mining would be revived in six abandoned mines of Eastern Coalfields, eight mines of Bharat Coking Coal, and four mines of Central Coalfields,” the official told IANS here Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

CIL has already floated a global expression of interest (EoI) inviting both local and global bidders to take part in the mining. Private players who enter into joint ventures with CIL or its subsidiaries would have access to 50 percent of the total production.

According to the global EoI notice, these 18 mines have an approximate reserve of 1,647 million tonnes of coal.

Under the CIL guidelines, each company or consortium may express its interest for one or more mines, which have to be specified in its submission.

However, for each mine, only one party would be finally selected after screening of EoIs followed by bidding.

In case of a single party being selected for more than one mine, the mines will be managed by a single joint venture between CIL and the private player.

The joint venture will be managed by an independent board, the partners represented by an equal number of directors. The chairman of the board will hold office for a one-year term alternately on rotational basis, the CIL official said.

CIL’s guidelines also require the private partners to have at least 10 years’ experience of economically operating underground coal mines in difficult working conditions.

Bidders must have re-opened, salvaged and then successfully operated at least one underground coal mine or part of the mine, abandoned or derelict for reasons of safety, anywhere in the world and must have experience of dealing with underground coal fires, and waterlogged conditions.

Earlier, ArcelorMittal and the Ispat group had expressed interest to the Indian government to tie up with CIL through the nomination route.

CIL, a government-owned corporation with seven coal producing subsidiaries and one mine planning and design institute, has meanwhile identified 120 projects from which it plans to excavate 292 million tonnes of coal during the ongoing 11th Plan.

During 2006-07, coal production from underground mines accounted for only about 11 percent of total production. Out of the 361 million tonnes produced, open cast mines contributed 339 million tonnes, and 43.32 million tonnes were from underground mining.

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