Coal Mines of India

Coal Mines of India

Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It meets 65 per cent of the country's energy requirements. The indigenous coal provided the foundation for the country's industrial legacy and India aims to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

Coal is sometimes referred to as the ‘black gold’ and ‘black diamond.’  

India's coal deposits are found in the older Gondwana formations of peninsular India and the newer tertiary formations of the northeastern area. 

The Gondwanas are India's primary coal-bearing formations. Nearly 98 per cent of India's coal deposits are found in Gondwana rocks (which is in the Satpuras) and is found in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Permian Gondwana coals are mostly found in India's Peninsular Gondwana basins.

Damodar Valley also known as the 'Ruhr of India', is located in the Chhota Nagpur Plateau. It contains vast tracts of coal resources stretching from Jharkhand to West Bengal in its centre basin. 

Basic Facts

  • India is the 3rd Largest Producer of Coal in the World.
  • India is also the 2nd largest importer of coal.
  • India has the 5th biggest reserve of Coal in the World.
  • India allowed 100% foreign direct investment in the coal sector.
  • Energy generated by coal is commercially termed as – Thermal Energy.
  • First Country in the world to use coal – China.
  • Largest Producer of Coal in the World – China.
    • 2nd – USA.
  • Largest Coal Producing State India – Jharkhand.
    • Richest State in India from the point of view of minerals – Jharkhand.
    • The state which is known as the Storehouse of Minerals – Jharkhand.
    • Coal City of India / Coal Capital of India – Dhanbad (Jharkhand).
  • Largest Coal Mine in India – Jharia Coalfield (Jharkhand).
    • Second Largest Coal mine in India – Raniganj Coalfield (West Bengal; on the banks of River Damodhar).
  • Oldest Coal Mine in India – Raniganj Coalfield (1774; Sumner and Heatly of East India Company).
    • First Coal Mine in India – Raniganj Coalfield.
  • Deepest coal mine in India – Chinakuri (West Bengal).
  • Largest Coal Producing City in India – Dhanbad (Jharkhand).
  • Indian Coalfield with the largest reserve – Raniganj (West Bengal).
    • 2nd –  Talcher (Odisha).
  • National Coal Development Corporation – 1956.
  • Nationalization of Coal was done by – Indira Gandhi Govt.
    • Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1973 
      • The nationalisation of the coking coal mines – 1971-1972.
      • The nationalisation of the non-coking coal mines – 1973.
  • Nationalization of Coal was repelled by – Narendra Modi Govt. (2015)
    • by Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act (2015).
    • Allowed pvt. companies to mine coal.

Classification of Coal

Coal is a carbon-based substance that is well-known for its usage as a fossil fuel. Other elements contained in coal with lesser percentages are sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen.

Over hundreds of millions of years, dead plant matter buried in swamp environments is subjected to geological forces of heat and pressure, resulting in the formation of coal. 

Plant matter degrades over time from moist, low-carbon peat.  Then, the heat and pressure generated by the ejection of carbon dioxide, water, and methane then transform it into coal, energy- and carbon-dense black or brownish-black sedimentary rock. This process is known as coalification.

India's major coal resources are found in seams separated by sedimentary strata. In certain circumstances, the coal strata may be found at or very close to the Earth's surface. In other situations, they might be thousands of feet underground. Coal seams are often a little thicker than 3 to 200 feet (1 to 60 metres).

In the descending order of their coal reserves of Indian states are:

Jharkhand > Odisha > Chhattisgarh > West Bengal > Madhya Pradesh.

Coal can be classified into 4 based on the carbon content. They are
  1. Anthracite.
  2. Bituminous Coal
  3. Lignite 
  4. Peat
Coal Classification

1. Anthracite : 

It is sometimes referred to as Hard Coal. It is the best quality coal, with the highest calorific value and a carbon content ranging from 80 to 95 per cent. It burns slowly and produces a blue flame, and it is found in small quantities in Jammu & Kashmir.

2. Bituminous Coal:

It has a low moisture content, 60 to 80 per cent carbon content, and a high calorific value. Bituminous deposits may be found in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. Only Gondwana rocks have bituminous coal.

3. Lignite:

Lignite is also known as Brown Diamond and Brown Coal. It carries 40 to 55% carbon content and is often brown in colour with high moisture content thus, gives smoke when burnt.

The largest lignite deposit in India is found in Tamil Nadu. It is also found in Gujarat, J&K, Rajasthan, Lakhimpur (Assam) and Puducherry. 

4. Peat:

Peat is the initial stage of the wood-to-coal conversion process, having a poor calorific value and less than 40% carbon content.

In the classification based on time period. There are two types of Coal in India namely:
  1. Gondwana coal
  2. Tertiary coal

In another classification, the coal is divided into 2. They are:
  1. Metallurgical coal – also called coking coal which is used in steel manufacturing.
    •  Dhanbad is the storehouse of the best metallurgical coal i.e coking coal while Giridih (Karbhari Coal Field) ) gives the finest coking coal in India.
  2. Steam coal – also known as thermal coal and it is used for electricity generation through steam.

Major Coal Mines in India

Location of Coal Mines (India)

Coal MinesStates
Jharia, Dhanbad, North & South Karanpura, Daltonganj, Ramgarh, Bokaro, Jayanti, Godda & Giridih (Karbhari Coal Field).Jharkhand
Raniganj Coalfield,  Dalingkot, Birbhum & Chinakuri.West Bengal
Korba, Bishrampur, Sonhat, Jhilmil, Hasdo-Arand.Chhattisgarh
Singrauli, Sohagpur,  Johila, Umaria, Satpura coalfieldMadhya Pradesh
Kamptee (Nagpur), Wardha, Walarpur, Wun field, Ghughus & WaroraMaharashtra
Talcher, Jharsuguda, Himgiri, Rampur Odisha
Singareni, Kothagudem, KantapalliTelangana/ Andhra Pradesh
NeyveliTamil Nadu
Ledo, Makum, Najira, Janji, JaipurAssam
Darrangiri (Garo hills), Cherrapunji, Liotryngew, Maolong  & Langrin coalfields (Khasi & Jaintia Hills)Meghalaya

Govt. Schemes & Initiatives

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020

  • Introduced in Lok Sabha – March 2, 2020.
  • Passed in Lok Sabha – March 6, 2020.
  • Passed in Rajya Sabha  – March 14, 2020.
  • Amends Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 & The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
  • It aims to enable firms with no prior coal mining expertise in India to participate in coal auctions. It also wants to eliminate the companies"specified end-use criteria.'

Coal Mitra Portal: 

  • Launched in – 2016.
  • Aim – To improve flexibility in domestic coal utilisation and transparency in coal swapping between PSUs and the private sector.

SHAKTI scheme ( Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating Koyala (Coal) Transparently in India): 

  • Approved in – May 2017.
  • Aim – To make coal available to all of the Thermal Power Plants in a transparent and objective way, while also ensuring that the advantages of linkage coal are transmitted to end-users and power companies.

UTTAM App (Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal):

  • Launched in – April 2018,
  • Aim – Coal Quality Monitoring.

CAMS (Coal Allocation Monitoring System)

  • Launched in – 2016.
  • Aim –  to monitor the allocation of coal by Coal India Limited (CIL) to States, States to State Nominated Agencies (SNA) and SNA to such consumers in a transparent manner.

  • Largest Coal Mine in the World – North Antelope Rochelle Mine (USA).
  • Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research – Dhanbad (Jharkhand).
  • The river in Europe which is known as the 'Coal River'  – Rhine (Germany).
  • Coal River in India  – Damodhar.
    • Largest industry thriving on the banks of River Damodhar  – Coalfields.
  • The place which is known as the Storehouse of Minerals – Chota Nagpur Plateau.
  • The plateau which is known as the Storehouse of Minerals – Peninsular Plateau.
  • The rock system in India is also known as the Storehouse of Minerals – Dharwar System.
  • Indian State which has the most natural resources – Tamil Nadu. (81% lignite, 75% vermiculite, 69% dunite, 59% garnet, 52% molybdenum, 30% titanium, etc.)
  • The deepest mine in Asia  – Kolar Gold mine (Karnataka).
  • First Woman Functional Director & the First Woman Chairperson of SAIL – Soma Mondal.
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