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India Looks to Triple Underground Coal Mining Production

One of the world’s top coal producers and users, India, aims to triple its coal production from underground mines as it seeks to meet energy demand with what it says is a more “eco-friendly” way to produce coal than opencast mines, a senior Indian official has told the Financial Times.

Earlier this month, India’s Ministry of Coal said that it aims to produce 100 million tons of coal from underground mines by 2030 as part of a plan to stop coal imports by 2025-2026.  

Coal production from underground mines will be further scaled up by 2030 by deploying mass production technology, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said as he launched a new round of auctions for 39 mines.

“Coal continues to play a key role in India’s economic growth and development,” Amrit Lal Meena, a senior official at India’s coal ministry, told FT in a statement.

According to Meena, underground mining – which India hasn’t focused on in recent years because of higher costs and risks – does not lead to substantial land degradation and “There is little disturbance on the land.”

While the COP28 climate summit in Dubai beginning this week is expected to discuss the future of coal and other fossil fuels, India continues to bet on coal to meet its growing power and industrial demand. Coal still generates around 70% of Indian electricity.

India’s coal production jumped by 18.59% to 78.65 million tons in October compared to the same month last year, data from the Indian Ministry of Coal showed early this month.

Between April and October, the first seven months of the Indian fiscal year 2023/2024, Indian coal production also rose, by 13.05% year-on-year to 507 million tons, according to the data.

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“The Ministry of Coal remains resolute in its commitment to ensuring continuous coal production and distribution, thereby securing a dependable energy supply that bolsters the nation's ongoing development,” it said in early November.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 27 2023 said:
    India the world’s third largest economy based on purchasing power parity (PPP) is expanding its indigenous coal production in order to satisfy its economic needs and also reduce its coal imports by 2026.

    For India, China and other major users of coal, energy security, affordability and sustainability take precedence over climate change goals.

    Coal isn’t only a very important economic energy source for countries with large reserves but it also produces the cheapest electricity in the world.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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