Coal India's consultancy arm CMPDIL has been roped in by NTPC to make separate mining plans for Banai and Bhalumuda coal mines in Chhattisgarh with an aim to maximise the extractable reserves by merging operations of the two mines.
The coal ministry had recently asked NTPC to prepare separate mining plans for both the blocks, an official said.
"In March 2018, NTPC requested the coal ministry to consider merger of these mines. After pursuing it for the past two years, in February this year, the coal ministry asked NTPC for separate mining plans and asked the PSU to try for more mine capacity," the official said.
Another official close to the development said the two mines were unexplored at the time of allocation to NTPC and the power PSU carried out detailed exploration and prepared geological reports by engaging CMPDIL.
According to the preliminary estimates before exploration, total extractable reserve assessed by the coal ministry was about 1,000 million tonne from these two mines.
But after preparation of geological reports, it was found that total extractable reserves from both the blocks will just be 500 million tonne because of difficult geo-mining conditions.
When NTPC consulted CMPDIL, the latter said if both the blocks were merged they could produce an additional 125 million tonne, the official said.
Both the coal blocks in Chhattisgarh are adjacent to each other and facing difficulty in dumping of overburden as the areas surrounding the blocks are coal bearing and NTPC could not get such land from Coal India, the official said.
The stripping ratio of these blocks is also very high, more than 7.5 cubic metre per tonne, thus necessitating more area for overburden dumping, the official said.
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