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Report on India’s Coal Mines

18th October, 2022 Economy

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  • On average, India’s coal mines use only two-thirds of the capacity with some large ones using only 1% - Global Energy Monitor (GEM) Report.



  • India’s 427 Metric Tonnes Per Annum of planned coal mine capacity place it second in the world after China with 596 MTPA.
  • But India’s coal mines use only two-thirds of the capacity with some large ones using only 1%.
  • In some major mining regions, like Jharkhand and Odisha, the industry has over 100 million tonnes in unused capacity at active mine sites, amounting to over 40% of unused mine capacity in those States.
  • All these suggest that 99 of India’s coal mine projects, expected to yield 427 MTPA (million tonnes per annum), under development are unnecessary and opening new coal mines wouldn’t contribute to easing short-term supply-crunches.

Observations made by the Report on opening New Mines

Coal Mines and Displacement

  • Coal mines under development threaten to displace at least 165 villages and affect 87,630 families, of which 41,508 families live in areas where the predominant population is tribal communities.


Coal Mines and Agriculture and Forests

  • Coal mines under development also threaten 22,686 hectares (ha) of agricultural land and 19,297 ha of forest.


Coal Mines and Water needs

  • Coal Mines under development will consume at least 168,041 kilolitres of water per day, comparable to the daily water needs of over one million people, at a time of severe water stress in the country.

Contradicts India’s Net Zero Target of 2070

  • On the heels of India’s announcement of a net zero target of 2070, these new mines increase India’s likelihood of stranded assets, delay a clean energy future—and in the process pose irreversible impacts on India’s rural communities and environments.


Would exacerbate Water Shortage

  • Water shortages would be exacerbated by the new coal projects, increasing demand by 1,68,041 kilolitres per day. Of 427 MTPA in new capacity, 159 MTPA (37%) will be located in high-risk water zones, while 230 MTPA (54%) is planned for zones with extreme water-risk.


Final Thought

  • New mines can’t make the industry’s old problems go away. It is not a panacea. Opening new mines today could intensify the sector’s weaknesses and inefficiencies tomorrow, especially as competition from renewables and conflicts over land use continue to emerge.


Global Energy Monitor

Global Energy Monitor is a San Francisco-based non-governmental organization which catalogs fossil fuel and renewable energy projects worldwide. GEM shares information in support of clean energy and its data and reports on energy trends are widely cited by governments, media, and academic researchers.


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