Coal India confident of taking on Competition

Sambalpur: Coal India Limited (CIL) is confident of retaining its flagship position as the country’s leading coal producer, notwithstanding the opening up of the coal sector to private players for commercial mining.

Mr. Pramod Agrawal, Chairman, CIL said “Commercial coal mining is not going to adversely impact the production or profitability of the company. Key issues which will help improve to stay ahead of the competition include uniform quality of coal, cost efficiency in production andreliable timely delivery schedule. Introduction of higher degree of mechanized mining andincreased supplies are other focus points.”

Allaying the apprehension that the entry of private entrepreneurs in commercial coal mining operations may shrink Coal India’s role, a company executive said “commercial mining complements our efforts in shoring up the country’s indigenous coal output,but may not be viewed as competition to Coal India. It would not unsettle us”.

CIL under its fold holds close to 54% of the country’s entire coal resource base of 319 Billion Tonnes (BTs).The allocation of 16 blocks, few months back, by the Government to the state owned Maharatna PSU, saw its resource capacity swell by around 9 Billion Tonnes (BTs) to 172 BTs.Of these, WCL an BCCL account for 5 blocks each. ECL has 3 blocks whereas 2 belong to CCL and 1 to MCL. None of the 41 blocks put up for commercial mining auction belong to Coal India.

Irrespective of impending competition CIL, over the years, has been working on tightening its belt in becoming a cost efficient producer in lowering the cost per tonne of coal produced and focusing on improved quality of coal supply. These two factors will determine the sale of coal in the competitive environment.

CIL’s advantage of over four and half decades of core competence, skilled human resource, established infrastructure, streamlined operations, infusion of capital in upgrading the technology and evacuation logistics, robust coal resource base and a slew of consumer friendly measures will give it an edge.