Coal India on Wednesday said that its Odisha-based arm MCL witnessed a 42.6% growth in overburden removal and produced 20.54 million tonnes of dry fuel till May 25 despite lukewarm demand from the consuming sectors due to COVID-19 led lockdown.
The development assumes significance as Coal India (CIL) has shifted its focus to overburden removal - the process of removing the topsoil and rock to expose coal seams in its open cast mines - on account of the slump in coal demand.
"Despite lukewarm demand for dry fuel from the consuming sectors, amid COVID-19 slowdown, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) managed to produce 20.54 million tonnes of coal progressive up to May 25, 2020, the highest quantity among all coal companies of CIL," the PSU said in a statement.
Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd reported a robust 42.6% growth in overburden removal during the current fiscal up to 25 May, compared to the same period a year ago.
This is also the highest among all the subsidiaries of Coal India Limited, the statement
“Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd has cleared 27.51 million cubic meters of topsoil and extraneous matter till May 25, compared to 19.29 million cubic meters year ago – a volume increase of 8.22 million cubic meters resulting in 42.6 % growth," it said.
Overburden removal is an important performance parameter as it exposes the coal seam for future mining. It also lends mine stability.
Ramping up coal production at short notice would not be a problem with coal ready for mining on the shelf, it said, adding that Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd would be able to pick up the production tempo once the demand for coal picks up.
For Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, overburden removal assumes even greater importance as almost all its production yield is through opencast mining.
During 2019-20 MCL produced 140.36 million tonnes of coal of which 139.52 million tonnes was through opencast means, that is, 99.4%.
MCL, which contributes to a little over 23% of CIL's overall production and off-take, is the second-largest coal producer and supplier among CIL's subsidiaries.
It has a target to produce 173 million tonnes during the current fiscal and going forward is targeted to contribute significantly to the tune of 263 million tonnes by 2023-24 in CIL's quest of one billion tonnes of coal production by then.