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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Coal demand in India yet to see its peak, says ministry of coal

The demand in 2020-21, including indigenous dispatch and import, was 906.13 million tonnes

A Staff Reporter Kolkata Published 24.03.22, 05:12 AM
Coal dispatches were 741.2mt by the  end of February, while imports till January were 173.3mt

Coal dispatches were 741.2mt by the end of February, while imports till January were 173.3mt File Picture

The Union coal ministry on Wednesday said the coal demand in India is yet to see its peak and is likely to increase by 63 per cent to 1.3-1.5 billion tonnes by 2030.

“As of now, there is no possibility of a transition away from coal affecting the stakeholders involved in coal mining,” Union minister of coal, mines and parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

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The demand in 2020-21, including indigenous dispatch and import, was 906.13 million tonnes (mt).

Dispatches were 741.2mt by the end of February, while imports till January were 173.3mt.

Aggregate demand in 2021-22 at 914.5mt has already surpassed the demand for the previous fiscal.

There has also been a drastic reduction in coal import by the thermal power plants of the country.

Between April 2021 and January 2022, import by the power sector was only 22.7 mt compared with 39.01mt in the corresponding period of the previous year and 45.47mt in 2020-21.

This shift to indigenous sources comes amid spiralling international coal prices.

Independent energy research firm Rystad Energy has estimated that coal prices are likely to surpass $500 per tonne in the world markets amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The government has allowed the annual contracted quantity of power plants to be increased to 100 per cent of the requirement to ensure supply of more domestic coal to the power plants.

The coal minister further informed Parliament that out of the 64 coal blocks that have been auctioned to private companies till date, 15 blocks have started production with an accumulated mining of 49.1mt till February 2022.

The ministry has constituted a sub-committee to look into the closure of abandoned and legacy mines due to exhaustion of reserves and viability issues.

Meanwhile, railway rakes supplying coal to India’s aluminium plants have dropped to the lowest since the peak of the energy crisis in September, 2021.

The industry got an average of 18.4 coal rakes per day in the first half of March, the lowest since 17.8 rakes were received in September.

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