India’s Coal Ministry to fund CIL technical wing to increase exploration activity

21st February 2020 By: Ajoy K Das - Creamer Media Correspondent

KOLKATA ( – The Indian government has framed a scheme to offer funds to the technical and consultancy arm of State miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to expand exploration activities so that more fully explored coal blocks can be put up for auction for bidding by private miners.

Under the scheme, Central Mines Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL), the technical arm of CIL, would receive an estimated $175-million over the next two financial years, as the first tranche to enable it to expand exploration of new blocks and to offer exploration data for more blocks to be put up for auction.

“The Coal Ministry will provide the fund under a central sector scheme to expedite exploration and make available blocks with necessary exploration data to the Ministry for its development through auction of the assets to private miners,” CMPDIL chairman Shekhar Saran said in a statement.

He said that CMPDIL had been involved in increasing the country’s proven reserves from 21-billion tons in 1976 to 156-billion tons in 2019. Six-billion tons of reserves were added under December 2019 and another 10-billion tons would be added to reserves by the end of 2019/20.

A total of 188 project reports had also been completed by December 2019 including 12 geological reports, 32 coal mining project reports and 42 draft environment planning reports, Saran informed.

He underlined the importance and need for a paradigm shift from present exploration methods to newer technologies and the introduction of 2D/3D seismic survey for faster coal and lignite exploration and to cover larger areas in a shorter time.

CMPDIL added vibroseis equipment, which were truck-mounted systems using large oscillating mass to put a range of frequencies in the earth and help estimate the density of matter underground, enabling miners to ascertain the possibility of deposits up to about 800 m below the surface, with Indian coal typically found at depths of between 300 m and 600 m.