By: V. V. Balakrishna
As many as seven countries have expressed their willingness to lease out coal mines to the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in response its expression of interest for acquisition of thermal coal abroad.
The SCCL invited global expression of interest on the directive of chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao to go in for international coal mining.
Currently, the committee constituted by SCCL is vetting the bid offers from seven countries. “We are looking into legal, financial and technical aspects of the bids. Once the SCCL board approves the bids, the company will acquire mines in other countries,” sources said.
The bids were received for 13 mines in seven countries. According to sources, three bids each from Australia and Indonesia, two each from Mozambique and Botswana, and one bid each from South Africa, Namibia and USA were received by SCCL.
“We are examining how much coal reserves the 13 mines have, the legal aspects of the ownership and financial viability,” the source said.
Bringing coal from the USA could be very expensive due to transportation costs and the SCCL is likely to prefer countries nearer India.
The cost of coal per tonne in international market is around 60 US dollars. “If SCCL leases mines outside the country and operates on its own, its coal will be cheaper than the imported coal,” the sources said.
Naini Mine: Meanwhile, the SCCL is planning to open 17 new mines in the coming three years, three of them this year.
One mine will be at Ramagundam (RGOC-3) with a reserve of 5 lakh tonnes, the second, an open-cast mine, at Bellampalli with 2 lakh-tonne reserves and the third, an underground mine, will be at Kondapur in Khammam district.
SCCL is lucky as the stripping ratio of coal mine at Naini in Odisha allotted to it by the central government is one of the best. The Centre allotted Naini coal mine of 400 tonnes. The stripping ratio there is 1:3. In SCCL mines, the stripping ratio is 1:11 to 1:13. “Naini mine is far better than most of the mines owned by SCCL,” the sources said.
Stripping ratio indicates the waste generated per each tonne of coal mined. If the waste is less, mining will be economical. The Naini coal will be used at the 1,800 MW power plant at Jaipur in Adilabad district. However, the actual production at Naini will take some more time and, for the time being, SCCL has arranged coal linkage to two units of the Jaipur plant, which will be launched in January or February next, from other sources. Officials foresee no problem in commissioning the Jaipur 2X600 MW plant next year.
Country No. of Mines
Indonesia 3, Australia 3, Mozambique 2, Botswana 2, South Africa 1, Namibia 1, USA 1
Source: The New Indian Express