Union Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi addressed a high-level Conference & Exhibition on the theme of “Underground Coal Mining – Way Forward for Sustainable Energy Security.” He assured the country that there will be no shortage of coal, even during the upcoming monsoon season. Shri Joshi stated that India’s coal sector is fully prepared to meet the enhanced domestic demand of the fast-growing economy.
The Minister urged Coal India Limited (CIL) to become a coal exporter within the next 2-3 years. He commended CIL and its subsidiaries for achieving record coal production and emphasized the need for sustainable mining practices while working towards India’s self-reliance in the coal sector. Shri Joshi also highlighted the importance of prioritizing safety in coal mines while focusing on increased production.
The Minister noted that despite a global economic slowdown, India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies and has gained international credibility in recent years. He called upon the coal sector to develop suitable action plans to meet the country’s growing energy requirements in the coming years. Shri Joshi appreciated the initiatives and reforms undertaken by the Coal Ministry to enhance commercial coal mining, including the successful auctioning of 87 coal blocks under commercial auction.
During the event, Shri Joshi released the underground coal mining vision plan of CIL and presented the “Coal Minister’s Award” to the best-performing subsidiaries of CIL in various categories such as safety, production, sustainability, quality, and ERP. He also expressed the desire to introduce a separate award for innovation. The Minister inaugurated a special exhibition organized as part of the conference.
Secretary of the Ministry of Coal, Shri Amrit Lal Meena, emphasized the importance of attracting more private sector firms into coal mining and noted that coal imports have significantly decreased compared to the pre-COVID period. He commended the coal industry for achieving record production and off-take while maintaining safety standards. Shri Meena highlighted the need to promote underground mining and the coking coal mission.
Shri Pramod Agrawal, CMD Coal India Limited, welcomed the participants and highlighted that India’s record coal production has led to a decline in global coal prices. He mentioned the limited environmental impact, including forest cover, and the superior quality of coal as advantages of underground mining.
Shri M Nagaraju, Additional Secretary and Nominated Authority of the Ministry of Coal, stated that India’s coal requirement could reach two billion tonnes by 2035-40. He emphasized the importance of introducing new technology, attracting private sector participation, ensuring sustainability, and promoting underground mining.
The objective of the conference was to focus on indigenous technology for sustainable coal production in line with the goal of an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) in the coal sector. The conference aimed to promote advanced techno-scientific cooperation among stakeholders, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, and implementing agencies. It provided a platform for stakeholders to interact and discuss the latest technologies that benefit the mining communities as a whole.