State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) on Monday said it has issued tenders for all 35 mining projects identified for mechanised transportation of dry fuel and setting up coal handling plants and silos for rapid loading at an estimated cost of Rs 12,500 crore.
Under mechanised transportation, coal would be moved through piped conveyor belt mode promoting cleaner environment. With reduced movement of coal-laden trucks on roads, it brings down dust pollution to the comfort of people residing in the proximity of the mines.
“Coal India’s pitch for efficient and environment friendly mechanised coal transportation in its first-mile connectivity, replacing the road movement, gained pace with the company successfully issuing tenders for all the 35 projects, of phase-1, by September 2020 as planned,” the PSU said in a statement.
First-mile connectivity refers to transportation of coal from CIL’s pitheads to despatch points. Coal handling plants (CHPs) and silos for rapid loading system would be commissioned across six of CIL’s subsidiaries, under the tenders.
To come up by FY2024 at an estimated investment of Rs 12,500 crore, the coal handling capacity of the 35 projects will be 406 million tonnes per year.
Each of these mining projects has production capacity of four million tonnes per year and above. CIL is undertaking a study through National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI), Kolkata particularly for assessing and quantifying benefits of environmental aspects of these projects.
CHPs and silos will have benefits like crushing and sizing of coal and speedy computerised loading. Another upside is that with the reduced manual intervention, precise pre-weighed quantity of coal can be loaded. It also spurs loading of better quality coal.
“Improved loading time will bring down the wagon idling thus increasing their availability. Easing the load on road networks induces savings on diesel as well apart from positive environmental considerations. It will be an all-round win-win situation for the company, railways, consumers and villagers in the proximity of the mines,” a senior executive of the company said.
Currently, CIL spends around Rs 3,400 crore on coal transportation costs which could be brought down substantially with the introduction of mechanised coal transport in the first mile. CIL also expects more than 12 per cent internal rate of return once it switches over to the mechanised transport means.
Already, mechanised conveyor system and computerised loading is operational in 19 projects of CIL having 151 million tonnes per year capacity. With the commissioning of the 35 projects, it would be spiked up by an additional 406 MTs, making it a total of 557 million tonnes per year by 2023-24 giving fillip to CIL’s efforts in quality and quantity loading.