Challenges for the the world's second largest coal block Deocha Pachami in West Bengal seem to rise as conditions for cost effective open-cast mining is not suitable there, a state minister said today.
As all the other stakeholders in the block has not taken much interest and taken an exit foreseeing issues with the block, West Bengal has got the full allocation of the coal block that is touted to change the face of Birbhum district with job creation of over a lakh people.
"Open cast mining at the block cannot be possible. Then, we have to go for underground mining. There is a stone block above the coal seams," state Power Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said here today.
"I have recently went to Poland to understand the technical know-how to extract coal under the stone block," he said adding that the project is now at its initial stage.
Deocha Pachami Dewanganj Harisingha has reserves of 2,102 million tonnes of coal and spread across 21 villages in Birbhum district of the state. Besides Bengal, the block was initially allocated to Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh along with public sector undertaking Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited.
"I am very happy to share with all of you that after a long wait of three years, #Bengal has got the allocation of the Deocha Pachami Harinsingha Dewanganj Coal Mines in Birbhum district," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on twitter said.
It will also involve investments worth Rs 12000 crores in the intermediate run, she said.
But, the larger question by the coal consumers is about cost of coal.
"There is demand for coal but at what cost? Underground coal is always costlier than open cast mine produced coal and we have to see the price when production sets in," a coal trading company official said.
World's largest miner Coal India had been shrinking underground mining due to high cost. There had been a decline of 26 per cent in underground mining over the 2005-06 to 2015-16 time period by the PSU.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)