Power sector may import 48 million tonnes of coal in the ongoing fiscal for plants which need coal from overseas market.
"As per the information received from Central Electricity Authority, 48 mt (million tonnes) of coal is expected to be imported by power sector for import-based coal plants in 2016-17," Minister of State for Power and Coal Piyush Goyal said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
The minister further said that according to the Geological Survey of India, the assessed coal resources up to a depth of 1,200 metres as on April 1, 2015, are 306.595 billion tonnes (BT), of which the proved reserves are about 132 BT, or 43%.
At the current rate of coal production of about 0.64 BT per annum, the reserves are envisaged to last for over 100 years, he said.
India has both coking and non-coking coals. The grade of coking coal varies from steel grade-I to Washery Grade-IV and semi-coking coal grade-I to Grade-II.
Coking coals are graded on the basis of ash content and semi-coking coal on the basis of ash plus moisture content. Non coking coals are graded according to gross calorific value into 17 grades — G1 (highest) to G17 (lowest).
In a separate reply, the minister said that during April-January period of 2015-16, import of coal declined by 4.3% over the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
The coal production in the last fiscal grew by 4.8% over 2014-15.
The government seeks to meet the domestic demand by increasing coal production to the extent possible by facilitating environment and forest clearances expeditiously, pursuing state governments for assistance in land acquisition and coordinated efforts with railways for movement of coal, Goyal said.