Gainwell Engineering, the manufacturing venture of Gainwell Commosales Pvt Ltd (formerly Tractors India Ltd), has partnered with World Coal Association to promote sustainable coal mining in India.
According to Sunil Chaturvedi, Chairman, Gainwell, the partnership is aimed at reducing the country’s dependency on import of coal mining equipment and facilitate domestic manufacturing to augment coal production in India in a sustainable manner. This will also help India reduce coal import bill and enable it to meet its energy security.
“As a part of this association, we hope to be able to bring the latest technology to see how production of coal through underground mining can be ramped up in a more sustainable manner,” Chaturvedi said at a press conference here on Thursday.
Energy security and sustainability to go hand in hand
As per the Economic Survey 2021-22, coal demand in India is projected to be in the range of 1.3-1.5 billion tonnes by 2030, an increase of 63 per cent from current demand. There is a need for India to step up underground coal mining as it is far more sustainable and safer, if right kind of technology and machinery is deployed.
According to Michelle Manook, Chief Executive of World Coal Association, the recent coal shortage clearly points out the demand for coal and the need to balance decarbonisation and energy security.
“Energy security is as important as sustainability. We have to balance decarbonisation and development and understand that carbon neutrality and energy security has to be looked at in a balanced manner,” she said.
Though there is lot of talks around stepping up renewable energy, coal would continue to play an important role in ensuring energy security, she said.
Highlighting the importance of underground mining in ensuring sustainability, Chaturvedi said, it helps produce better quality coal with higher calorific value.
“Coal remains the mainstay of energy security for India, but the country so far was entirely dependent on imported underground mining machinery for expanding its underground mining operations, especially coal. With our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Panagarh in West Bengal the company will help India and other global geographies, not only mine their underground mineral resources far more sustainably but will also represent the end of India’s dependence on imported equipment for underground mining,” Chaturvedi said.
When asked about investor interest in the sector, Manook said there are lots of new emerging investors who are looking at supporting new technologies in fossil fuels.
“We only keep looking at who is exiting; we should look at who is entering (to invest in the sector). There needs to be certainty and clarity in government policy in the long term (to ensure investments),” she said.