From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Coal mining in India
Mains level : Need for coal imports
The govt. has urged utilities to import coal despite having the world’s fourth-largest reserves, with several power plants on the verge of running out of fuel due to a surge in power demand.
Coal Mining in India
- Coal in India has been mined since 1774 and is now the second fastest mined in the world, producing 716 million metric tons (789 million short tons) in 2018.
- Due to high demand and poor average quality, India imports coking coal to meet the requirements of its steel plants.
- Dhanbad city is the largest coal-producing city and is called the Coal Capital of India.
- State-owned Coal India had a monopoly on coal mining between its nationalization in 1973 and 2018.
- Coal-fired power accounts for more than 70% of India’s electricity generation. Electricity generation makes up three-fourths of India’s coal consumption.
Quality of coal
- The ash chemistry of Indian coal is such that it is high in silica and alumina.
- The ash is also highly abrasive because of its high quartz content, which can lead to erosion of the syngas cooling system when it gets fused.
- Indian coal’s sulfur content is low, about 0.5 percent.
- So, from a gas clean-up perspective, the flue gas desulphurization (removal of SOx gases) and NOx removal system is not economically justifiable and, therefore, not important.
- Also, in the Indian context, this is unnecessary to meet emission norms.
- India has the fourth-largest coal reserves in the world. It is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, after China.
- Coal deposits are primarily found in eastern and south-central India.
- Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra accounted for 98.09% of the total known coal reserves in India.
- As of 31 March 2019, Jharkhand and Odisha had the largest coal deposits of 25.88% and 24.76% respectively.
- Coking Coal is being imported by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and other Steel manufacturing units mainly to bridge the gap between the requirement and indigenous availability and to improve the quality.
- Coal-based power plants, cement plants, captive power plants, sponge iron plants, industrial consumers, and coal traders are importing non-coking coal.
- Coke is imported mainly by Pig-Iron manufacturers and Iron & Steel sector consumers using mini-blast furnaces.
Try answering this PYQ:
Which of the following is/are the characteristics/ characteristics of Indian coal?
- High ash content
- Low Sulphur content
- Low ash fusion temperature
Select the correct option using the codes given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Post your answers here.