Coal India (CIL), the government-owned near-monopolist in the sector, is to build 15 washeries across its various subsidiaries, through private companies under a build and operate model.
CIL currently owns 17 washeries, five for coking coal (used by the steel and cement industries) and 12 for non-coking (for producing electricity). Of the new ones, six are to handle coking coal and the other nine the other. The cumulative washing capacity is estimated at 112 million tonnes (mt), said senior CIL officials.
The coking washeries would be awarded by Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL), the combined capacity being 18.6 mt. The non-coking ones would be distributed among Mahanadi Coal (four), South Eastern Coal (two) and Central Collieries (three).
"We are expecting three coking coal washeries to be operational by the end of next year," said a senior CIL official.
Grades of coal range from G-1 to G-17; G-1 is the best quality, of 7,500 kcal of calofiric value or heating capacity. G-10 is the moderate grade, of 2,000-2,500 kcal. There have been disputes between power producers and CIL over quality and grading issues. All coal above G-10 grade would not be delivered unwashed after October 1, 2017," said Anil Swarup, secretary, ministry of coal.
"We have set up a committee to resolve all CIL's quality issues."
The committee will comprise ministry officials. "The chief secretaries of all states have been apprised and they can come (here) for any resolution," said Swarup.