Coal India Ltd is “very confident” of meeting the 780 million tonne production target for 2023-24, the company’s officials told businessline in Chennai on Saturday. This statement assumes significance against the backdrop of recent reports in the media that the public sector coal miner might miss its target by 10 million tonnes.

The company officials, who were present here for a stakeholders meeting to sensitise mining equipment manufacturers about the emerging demand for their products, said that the company had been misquoted and might miss the target. 

Also, the target for the next year has been fixed at 838 million tonnes, 7.5 per cent higher than the target for 2023–24. 

Demand for coal is expected to go up from 1,180 million tonnes in 2023-24 to 1,464 mt in 2029-30. Coal India Ltd. is expected to play a pre-eminent role in the supply of fuel. 

Talcher project 

Amrit Lal Meena, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, said that the ₹13,277 crore Talcher Fertilizer project is “50-plus per cent” complete and is expected to go on stream by October-November 2025. The project is for gasifying coal to produce syngas and to produce neem-coated urea from the syngas. (A government press release of January 7, 2023, had said that the project “is expected to start by September 2024.”) 

When completed, it would be the country’s first coal gasification project, gasifying 2.5 million tonnes of coal a year to produce 1.27 million tonnes of urea. 

Talcher Fertilizers Ltd., a joint venture of public sector companies GAIL, Rashtriya Chemicals, Coal India, and Fertilizer Corporation of India, has had a long and troubled history.  It was conceived as a fertilizer plant in 1971 and began production in 1980. It was declared sick in 1992 and faced closure in 2002, but, due to a urea shortage in the country, its revival was planned in 2011. In September 2018, Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone for the new coal-gas-based fertilizer project, and it was said that the project would be commissioned in 36 months.