Coal India looks to UK for green mining methods

August 23rd, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 23 (IANS) Coal India, the world’s biggest coal mining company, is tapping into north-eastern Britain’s mining experience and a partnership is on cards for exchange of expertise.A top level delegation from Coal India has been visiting the region to study research, restoration of former mining landscapes and environmental issues surrounding the industry. And now a partnership could be forged between the Indian company and the British region that once led the world in coal mining.

The Indian delegation toured sites with Paul Younger, Newcastle University’s Professor of Energy and Environment.

Experts from the university are involved in a detailed study of technology which would see coal seams turned into gas which would then be extracted, with the voids used to store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

The group visited Northumbrian Water’s Birtley sewage treatment works, near Lamesley in Gateshead, where effluent and polluted mine-water are treated by extensive reed beds based on ideas by Prof Younger.

Other visits were made to the Port of Tyne coal import docks and the HJ Banks Delhi and Shotton opencast sites at Blagdon in Northumberland and the North East Mining Institute in Newcastle, according to the web site of Journal Live.

Coal India has a workforce of 425,000 and produces 500m tonnes of coal a year - twice the output of UK coalfields at their peak in the 1930s.

The partnership would involve Newcastle University, the Coal Authority and the Mining Institute. Paul Younger, Newcastle University’s professor of energy and environment, said: “We can offer Coal India our experience and expertise. The coal industry in India is growing rapidly and they are increasingly conscious that they want to get it right in environmental and social terms. They have been extremely impressed by what they have seen, including how the North East has recuperated its former mining landscapes.”

One of the benefits of a partnership for the university would be the chance for students and researchers in the civil engineering, environmental science and medical fields to visit India and work in a mining industry in its heyday. A party of researchers from the university will visit India next month.

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