The Government approved the fading away of the existing Letter of Assurance (LoA) - Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) regime and introduced Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating Koyala (Coal) Transparently in India (SHAKTI), 2017, which was issued by the Ministry of Coal on 22 May 2017.
There is a shortage of coking coal used in steel plants and some part of their requirement is met by the companies from imported coking coal. Steel plants require low ash content of coal for their sustainability with respect to techno-economics as well as environmental aspects.
42 coal mines have been allocated to Private Sector under Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 (CMSP Act, 2015) and Mine and Mineral (Development &Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act, 1957) through a transparent & competitive bidding mechanism.
India launched (March 2021) its 2nd Tranche of auction for commercial coal mining offering 67 mines for sale of coal. This is the highest number of mines on offer in a particular tranche of auction after commencement of the auction regime since 2014.
The Government has put major thrust on sustainable development in coal mining and is taking multi-pronged action on both environmental and social fronts. The Ministry of Coal has moved forward with a comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan and has initiated its speedy implementation.
Coal deposits are mainly confined to eastern and south central parts of India. The states of Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra account for 98.58 % of the total coal reserves in the country. The State of Jharkhand had the maximum share (26.29%) in the overall reserves of coal followed by the State of Odisha (24.58%).
Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) is the nodal agency for exploration of coal in India. It is using latest techniques to explore the fresh coal reserves like Hi-Tech Hydrostatic drills for drilling; 2D & 3D seismic survey with Vibrosis & interpretation with Paradigm software; satellite imagery for identification of forest and probable coal bearing areas & modern software such as AutoCAD, ArcGIS and Minex for preparation of Geological reports which is equivalent to industry best practices worldwide.
Section 9(3) of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, provides that the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the Second Schedule (which specifies rates of royalty) so as to enhance or reduce the rate at which royalty shall be payable in respect of any mineral, provided that the Central Government shall not enhance the rate of royalty in respect of any mineral more than once during any period of three years.
Coal washing is an integral part of coal production. Raw coal coming from mines is washed to remove the ash contents to make them fit for feeding into boilers, particularly those of steel plants. Barring a few instances, a coal washery does not form part of a coal mine in India.