Coal production by the private sector is expected to surpass 140 million tonnes (MT) in FY24, ending March 2024, as the Coal Ministry pushes for enhancing output from captive and commercial mines.

The Ministry’s strategy is to auction more blocks under commercial mining to private players to enhance coal production in a bid to meet the rising demand for the critical commodity, which is likely to hit 1.5 billion tonnes by FY30.

Speaking to businessline on the sidelines of the launch of the integrated logistics policy, Coal Ministry’s Additional Secretary M Nagaraju said “We wanted to review present production of captive and commercial mines to the private sector. Now, they are doing very well.”

He emphasised that Ministry, in the last few years, has focused on a holistic approach to boost coal output through auctions, mechanisation and integrated logistics planning, among others.

Higher production

“Till yesterday (February 28, 2024), we produced 120 MT (in FY24). We will be expecting to cross 140 MT this year (FY24). It’s a big jump, great for the country,” Nagaraju said.

Captive/commercial mines production stood at 123 MT in FY23 from 86 MT in FY22.

Average daily coal production in February 2024 was 5.14 lakh tonnes (LT), which is a first for captive and commercial mines. Daily average dispatch stood at 4.46 LT.

The overall production and dispatch from captive and commercial coal mines during April-February in FY24 was 126.80 MT and 128.88 MT, marking an annual growth of 27.06 per cent and 29.14 per cent, respectively.

As of February, the total number of producing mines stood at 54, of which 35 blocks have been allocated to the Power sector, 11 to the Non-Regulated Sector, and 8 for sale of coal.

A total of 91 mines have been successfully auctioned under commercial coal auctions, out of which 7 blocks have already commenced production.

Ministry is focused on sustaining this growth trajectory and the aim is to further streamline operations and bolster the infrastructure to meet the rising energy demands of the nation, Nagaraju noted.

Regular monitoring and review

The government is constantly reviewing performance of the captive and commercial mines, which are expected to account for almost one-fifth of India’s coal production by 2030. Monthly reviews are conducted with stakeholders on analysing production and dispatch.

Last month, Nagaraju conducted a detailed review of coal production and dispatch from such mines with the respective coal companies from power sector, non-regulated sector, and on sale of coal.

Appreciating the increase in production, it was impressed upon the miners to enhance production wherever it is feasible. Allottees were also advised to bring forward constraints in production and dispatch to the notice of the Ministry for timely resolution.

Nagaraju advised the allottees to take necessary steps to operationalize coal blocks that are in advanced stages and support the sector’s growth.

According to the integrated coal logistics plan, which was approved by the Empowered Group of Secretaries on PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan in December last year, India’s total domestic supply is expected to more than double from 691.39 MT in FY21 to 1,500 MT in FY30.

Of this, the share of Coal India, which accounted for 83 per cent of total domestic supplies in FY21, will drop to 75 per cent by FY30, while the share of captive and commercial mines will grow from 10 per cent to 19 per cent.