Coal India has identified 14 additional projects involving capital expenditure of more than Rs 3,400 crore under the 'first mile connectivity' initiative to upgrade transport facility at mines, the state-run miner said on Monday.
The state-run miner is replacing road transport of coal from pitheads to despatch points with mechanised systems like conveyer belts to decrease the transportation time. It had announced 35 projects under the first phase of the initiative of which two are operational.
"Four coal companies of CIL (Coal India Ltd) together will infuse a tentative capital of over Rs 3,400 crore in these projects that have a total of 100.5 million tonnes/year capacity," the company said in a statement.
Of the 14 projects in the phase II, Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) accounts for five with 62.5 million tonnes per annum capacity.
Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd with a solitary project has 20 million tonnes per annum capacity. Eastern Coalfields Ltd has seven projects and South Eastern Coalfields Ltd has one project with a capacity of 14 million tonnes per annum and four million tonnes per annum, respectively, the statement said.
Tenders for these different projects will be floated beginning August this year till next two years.
Coal India aims to replace the existing road transport between pitheads and despatch points and switch over to a seamless mechanised coal transport through conveyor belts which is a covered system for movement of coal reducing the dust pollution.
It will also have the added benefit of computer-aided loading of railway wagons.
Under Phase I, the coal miner had earlier zeroed in on 35 projects, each having four million tonnes per annum capacity and above, from six of its subsidiaries with a capital of Rs 12,300 crore.
Their combined project capacity is 406 million tonnes per annum.
The 49 projects under both the phases will have a total of 506.5 million tonnes per annnum capacity.
As a corollary, CIL will set up coal handling plants(CHP) with silos having rapid loading systems, which will have benefits like crushing, sizing of coal, quicker and better quality coal loading with the advantage of precise pre-weighed quantity of coal being loaded.
CHP/Silo loading will be a big shot in the arm for CIL in furthering its quality supply of coal.
"This will be a tipping point in our coal transportation in the first mile. The multiple advantages include easing the load on road networks, saving on diesel costs, cleaner environment and stoppage of possible pilferage. Another advantage is quicker computer aided loading of wagons," a senior executive of the company said.
Since coal will be loaded directly into the wagons from Silos it eliminates manual loading through pay loaders which is generally prone to overloading or under loading of wagons. Susceptibility of extraneous material being loaded through pay loaders leading to quality issues is another concern.
"Improved computer aided loading time will bring down the wagon idling. Wagon cycle time will be reduced by a few hours increasing wagon availability. It is a win-win situation for the company, railways and the consumer," the official said.
CIL already transports 151 million tonnes per annum of coal through mechanised system and loads through CHP/Silos from 19 projects. Now it would be enhanced to 557 MT/Y by 2023-24 through phase I projects.
Phase II projects will start contributing once the formalities of finalisation are over.
Of the 35 phase I projects, two projects, one each in SECL and MCL with a combined capacity of 26 million tonnes per annum are already operational since February and April this year.
Seven projects of 91 million tonnes per annum capacity are under construction of which four are expected to get completed in this financial year.
While tenders have already been floated for eight projects having 76 million tonnes per annum capacity, tenders for the remaining 18 projects will be issued on a fast track mode before September 30.