Coal,Coal Beneficiation

Coal beneficiation in India: Status and way forward

India is poised to be among the fastest growing large economies in the world in the coming years. To meet the consequent growth in demand for energy in the country, the Indian government plans to increase coal production from 607 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 to 1.5 billion tonnes (BT) by 2019-20. This is required to boost domestic economic activity, increase the share of manufacturing in the gross domestic product (GDP) to improve prospects for employment generation, and widen access to electricity for all. India has the world’s third largest proved coal reserves, estimated at over of 131 BT, and is also the world’s third largest coal producer in volume terms. About 67 percent of power generation in India is based on coal and its share is likely to remain above 60 percent in the next two decades.

As part of India’s clean coal strategy—expressed in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document to combat global warming—the government is implementing a policy of mandatory beneficiation of coal (particularly coal washing). Coal beneficiation is the process of putting coal through a technical separation mechanism to reduce its ash content, and improve sizing, consistency and overall quality.

This policy is anchored primarily on environmental considerations, and will have to be balanced with economic considerations to create a greater impact.

Author

Swagat Bam

Lydia Powell

Akhilesh Sati