The first longwall mining project under Chinese collaboration is fast nearing completion at Balrampur and is set to commence production in the first week of May. Balrampur falls under South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) whose 80 per cent of production of non-coking coal goes to the power sector. Another 15 per cent is for the cement industries.
Contract for four longwall face has already been finalised. Following the contract with the Chinese, work at Balrampur, New Kumda and Rajendra - all under SECL - has been proceeding smoothly. But there has been some delay in execution of contract in Churcha West. New Kumda and Rajendra are expected to be operational by July-August next.
Each of the three mines under construction will have the capacity to produce coal in the range of 2,500-3,000 tonnes per day, according to a top source in SECL.
SECL has also undertaken four underground mining projects with the application of modern technology at Chirimiri, Pinora, Vindya and Kapildhara. Work on modernisation is nearing completion and production from these modernised mines is expected to commence within a year. These mines are expected to yield 0.5 million tonnes of coal annually and the revenue yield will be Rs 20 crore after liquidating all debts.
SECL plans for expansion of Gevra mine to increase production from the present level of 17 million tonnes to 25 million tonnes. This mine has achieved the distinction of despatching 1.79 lakh tonnes of coal in a single day on March 31 last.
In the expansion scheme is also included Dipika mine where an increase of capacity was approved from 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) 10 mtpa. This has further been expanded to 15-20 mtpa. This apart, construction of 6 mtpa non-coking coal washery under BOO is nearing completion.
SECL has set the target of extracting 3.5 million tonnes of additional coal from underground mines in the ninth plan period. This Coal India subsidiary has got 78 underground mines and 17 opencast mines.
At the end of the 1997-98 financial year, SECL has been found to have exceeded the targets of production and despatch. Production was 56.63 mtpa against target of 55.5 mtpa. Target for the current year (1998-98) has been set at 58.3 mtpa.
Depatch of coal in 1997-98 was also higher at 58.3 mtpa above the target of 56.5 mtpa. Target for the current year is 59.7 mtpa.
SECL is yet to compute the profits in the year under review. In 1996-97 the coal company earned a profit of Rs 583 crore. This is expected to go over Rs 150 crore.
Dankuni Coal Compex however remains the weak spot for SECL though its loss has been cut to Rs 25 crore against the budgeted estimated loss of Rs 35 crore in 1997-98