Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi said that India’s coal sector will break all records and become a net exporter of coal by 2025-26. He said that the country’s total coal production, including private coal mines and state mines, has reached 8,800 lakh tonnes in this financial year. He said that there would be no shortage of coal in the coming summer when the demand would increase.
“From being a net importer of coal, India is now moving towards being a net exporter of non-coking (thermal) coal,” Joshi said at the launch of the seventh round of commercial coal mine auctions. India had imported 900 lakh tonnes of coal, which would be finished by 2025-26. Apart from coking coal, we will also stop importing thermal coal.
Earlier, the Coal Ministry had set a target of zero coal import by 2024. The claim to reduce coal imports comes at a time when the Union power ministry has asked all power producers to compulsorily import coal to meet the shortage of domestic coal in times of rising power demand.
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The minister said that production from private coal mines has reached 1,000 lakh tonnes in this financial year. Noting that thermal power plants have a stock of 1,600 lakh tonnes of coal, the minister said, “There will be no shortage of coal during the peak power demand season of summer.” Producers, both public and private, have been asked to increase coal production and be prepared for the monsoons of June and July.
Amritlal Meena, Secretary in the Ministry of Coal, said that by the next financial year, the production of coal in the country can be 1 billion tonnes and in a few years our production will be 1.5 billion tonnes.
Announcing the seventh round of commercial coal mining, Meena said that 106 coal blocks would be offered in this round. Of the 101 coal mines being offered, 32 are new coal mines and 69 will be carried forward from earlier blocks.
These mines are in the lignite producing states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.