March 8, 2021, 7:38 AM PST
Coal India Ltd. approved an investment of about 473 billion rupees ($6.4 billion) on mining projects as the company seeks to boost output to replace imports of the fuel, the Kolkata-based miner said in an emailed statement.
The approvals include eight new projects as well as expansion plans for 24 existing mines, Coal India said. The 32 sites will have a combined peak output of 193 million tons a year, the highest capacity approved during a fiscal year, it said. The projects will produce 81 million tons annually from the financial year starting April 2023, by when the miner targets reaching 1 billion tons of annual production.
The world’s biggest miner is counting on a revival in demand for the fuel as the Indian economy emerges from a pandemic-induced slump. Besides industrial consumption, the approaching summer is expected to boost demand for electricity and spur power generators to replenish their declining coal inventories, Coal India’s Chairman Pramod Agrawal said last month.
India’s coal users imported a record 248.5 million tons of the fuel in the fiscal year ended 2020. Increasing domestic production will be key to weaning them away from overseas purchases, Coal India said. To ensure smooth shipments, the company is also investing in railway tracks and other coal transportation infrastructure along the mines, according to the statement.