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Coal India rubbishes Greenpeace allegations

Company says Greenpeace's effort to highlight issues indicates a "sinister design" to stop coal mining in the country

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

S Narsing Rao
S Narsing Rao

Coal India Ltd, preparing to sell additional shares to investors, today rubbished allegations levelled by Greenpeace India, saying that the charges indicated a "sinister design" to stop coal mining in the country and raise dependence on imports.

"All this is only that coal mines should be closed and we should only depend on imported coal is the only design that I can understand," Coal India Chairman S Narsing Rao said.

He said Greenpeace's effort to highlight issues which otherwise would have only bothered financial investors indicated a "sinister design" to stop coal mining in the country and raise dependence on imports.

Yesterday, global environmental lobby group Greenpeace filed a complaint with market regulator Sebi against Coal India alleging that the world's largest coal miner, which is slated to go in for a disinvestment soon, had overstated its extractable reserves by a good 16 per cent.

Greenpeace also alleged that the company failed to disclose to stock exchanges an internal assessment that showed its extractable coal reserves were 16 per cent less than stated at the time of its 2010 listing, a violation of Indian stock exchange rules.

Rao accepted that Coal India has not disclosed to the bourses the switchover in the extractable reserve figure from the Indian Standard Practices code to internationally accepted United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) Code in 2011, after a government directive.

"We didn't consider it to be significant development to be reported to the stock exchange," Rao said.

The green activist body said yesterday that the public sector miner's 18.2 billion tonne extractable coal reserves as per UNFC code could be exhausted in 17 years.

According to the ISP code in the IPO prospectus, it was 22.33 billion tonnes.

"Every year since 2011, we have been adding more than 2.2 billion tonne of coal reserve each year for three years since 2010 taking the extractable reserve figure close to 25 billion tonne. This way we will continue adding more reserves as we keep developing new mines," Rao said.

Greenpeace has also filed a formal complaint with the Securities and Exchange Board of India for concealing material evidence on the scale of the coal reserves, in contravention of the terms of the Listing Agreement.

First Published: Tue, September 24 2013. 21:19 IST