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CIL panel okays viability of seven coal projects

Badal Sanyal

Kolkata , Sept. 4

THE empowered sub-committee of Coal India Ltd's (CIL) board , at its meeting here on Wednesday, approved techno-economic viability of seven major coal projects involving an investment of about Rs 1,450 crore. The project, planned to be completed during the Tenth Plan, will give CIL an additional production of about 17 million tones (mt) of non-coking coal.

Of the seven projects cleared, Chupervita open cast mine in Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) attracted most attention because of the fact that National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has been lobbying for quite some time in New Delhi for this virgin coal block for its own captive mining use. Chupervita mine, a greenfield project, will be developed at an estimated cost of about Rs 605 crore and will produce about four million tones of coal. CIL may enter into a financial tie-up for the project either with the suppliers of machinery and equipment or with consumers of coal from the mine.

The sub-committee approved the expansion programme of the Rajmahal open cast mines, which are also in ECL. Under the expansion programme, the mine's capacity will be raised from 10 mt to about 17 mt, entailing an investment of about Rs 63 crore. The job will be done departmentally.

Lakhanpur open caste mine in Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Orissa will be expanded from 5 mt to 10 mt at an estimated cost of about Rs 99 crore. Some jobs will be outsourced when developing the mine.

A power support long-wall face will be installed at the Amadand underground mine in MCL to produce 1.5 mt of non-coking coal. This will cost about Rs 84 crore.

This apart, the cost of four projects, approved earlier, was revised so that they can also be taken up during the Tenth Plan.

When contacted, Mr A. Kalam, Director (technical) of CIL, who chaired Wednesday's meeting, said this was a major decision by the sub-committee. While ruling out the possibility of CIL implementing these projects through the joint venture route, he said all the projects would be implemented departmentally. But in some cases, CIL's subsidiaries might outsource certain jobs.

Once the investment proposals for these projects are ratified by the next CIL board, some of them will be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Coal for its consent. Mr Kalam said that the process might not take a long time because the Ministry also would like the coal companies to take up new projects.

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