Inks pact with German RWE Power for technical assistance

Reliance Power is looking to double coal production from 20 million tonnes (mt) to 40 mt a year at the captive blocks allocated to its 3,960-MW Tilaiya ultra mega power project in Jharkhand.

For this, RPower has inked an agreement with RWE Power of Germany to acquire technical assistance for mining of the Kerendari ‘B' and ‘C' coal blocks in North Karanpura coal fields, allocated to the plant to meet its fuel requirement.

RWE Power is Germany's largest mine operator and power producer with installed generation of 33,200 MW. Production from its three mines comes to 100 mt a year. RWE offers consultancy services in power and mining sector and has clientele in 68 countries.

A senior RPower official said the mining plan has been submitted to the Government and approval had been obtained. On excess coal, he said it was for the Government to decide on how the surplus should be channelised.

German technology

He said the German company provides IPCC technology (in pit crushing and conveying), which would do away with movement of dumpers at the mine site as coal would be taken away by conveyors. Mine production depended on the number of dumpers that can be deployed and this technology eliminated use of dumpers for carrying coal.

The overall cost would go up but production would almost double, which was a major advantage in the current scenario where both coal availability and price were a concern.

The Tilaiya project's coal block reserves are estimated at 1.2 billion tonnes and the mining plan looks forward to produce 40 million tonnes annually. RPower is working to ensure the coal production sychronises with the power generation of the plant. The mining cost is expected at Rs 7,000 crore.

Tilaiya project is slated to begin generation in 2015. Reliance Power was awarded the project as it bid Rs 1.77 a kwh.

SASAN UMPP

RPower also has a strategic partnership with the North American Coal Corporation (NACoal) for mining operations at the captive coal blocks allocated for its 3,960-MW (6X 660) Sasan power plant.

The Sasan plant is scheduled for commissioning in January next year.

Sources said NACoal was providing its expertise in equipment selection, technical specification and setting up the infrastructure for the mining operations. R Power has obtained a $917-million loan from US Exim Bank for importing mining equipment and the first lot of electric shovels have reached the mining site and erected.

The Moher and Moher Amlohri captive blocks reserves are estimated at 600 mt. The Sasan plant will require 20 mt a year.

RPower is permitted to ship surplus coal from Moher to Chitrangi, also in Madhya Pradesh, where it is building another 3,960 MW plant.

Power generation companies with captive mine allocation have little option but to hasten the mining, given the overall shortage of fuel. Coal India is expected to fall marginally short of its targeted 440 mt this fiscal. Last fiscal it produced 431 mt.

Last year, the Coal Ministry de-allocated 14 blocks due to lack of progress on the mining front. Among this, Neyveli Lignite Corporation sought three blocks such as Chatti Bariatu, Chatti Bariatu south and Kerandari in north Karanpura, in Jaharkahand, which had been vested with NTPC.

murug@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 26, 2012)
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