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CIL sets lofty output target

Calcutta: Coal India has set an "aspirational" production target of 652 million tonnes for 2018-19 with supply to the power sector estimated at around 525 million tonnes.

"In the first quarter we have produced 15 per cent more compared with the first quarter of last year and supplied 12 per cent more. But power demand is increasing and government is committed to 24x7 power to all.

"Unfortunately in August and September due to heavy rain, there were some issues but we are confident that after the rain subsides, we would be able to jack up production," said Coal India chairman A.K. Jha on the sidelines of the AGM of the company on Wednesday.

He said while the power sector remained the priority consumer, Coal India will make efforts to ensure supply to other sectors as well. "We have kept an aspirational target this year," said Jha.

Coal production in 2017-18 by the public sector miner was 567.36 million tonnes and supply to the power sector was 454.24 million tonnes.

The miner will also look to rationalise the number of mines in its portfolio.

"We have inherited many underground mines at the time of nationalisation. That time, there were more than 700 mines. Now we are trying to rationalise our mines."

The rationalisation exercise could also involve amalgamation of mines and closure of the unviable ones.

However, Jha said there would be no retrenchment of workers.

"We have given a project to the Indian School of Mines to provide a solution about how underground mines can be managed. This exercise is going on," Jha said.

The public sector miner which closed around 43 underground mines last year on grounds of safety and viability, may look at closure of 53 mines.

Coal India Limited has 369 mines (as on 1st April, 2018) of which 174 are underground, 177 opencast and 18 mixed mines.

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