Coal quality is considered to be poor, when it has a high content of ash, moisture or sulphar. Such Coals usually have a heating power below 16 MJ/Kg.
As the economy is growing, pressure on Coal supply is also increasing every year for it being the prime fuel source in India. Despite of abundant coal reserves, India relies on coal imports because of two major reasons.
- High percentage of Ash in Coal (more than 38-45 per cent of Ash) available in India.
- Domestic production is not capable to meet demand
To improve coal grade through coal cleaning and beneficiation, Indian government has promoted Coal Washeries.
Coal washing or beneficiation is an integral part of coal production in which raw coal from mines is washed to remove the ash contents to make them fit for feeding into boilers. Coal washing reduces ash percentage from 38-45 per cent to around 30 per cent or even less.
India’s current installed capacity of Washeries is around 139.4 MnT pa. A total of 52 Washeries including PSUs & Private are operating in the country, considering both coking (about 29.7 MnT pa) and Non-coking coal (about 109.7 MnT pa) which might increase to 263 MnT as per the 12th & 13th year plans.
In setting up Coal Washeries, state owned largest coal miner Coal India is heading in a big way for Coal Beneficiation of all types of coals. Currently, CIL is producing almost 40 MnT of washed coal including coking and non-coking.
To meet the demand-supply gap of washed coal, land has been issued by Ministry of Coal in Sept’05 as per the guidelines for setting up of Coal Washeries in Public Sector Coal Companies.
Accordingly, CIL’s subsidiary companies are providing necessary assistance, in setting up the Washeries either by the linked consumers, or by the prospective private washery operators/ investors on behalf of the linked consumers.
Presently, a total operational capacity of non-coking coal washeries in the country is about 109.6 MnT pa, out of which about 90.9 MnT pa is in private sector and 19.7 MnT pa is with CIL. Some more non-coking coal washeries in the private sector are under construction.
Apart from above, CIL is planning to set up 20 more washeries with total capacity of about 111 MnT. Out of which, about 105 MnT pa of washed coal project will be developed under Build Operate & Maintain (BOM) basis; whereas, about 6 MnT pa capacity washeries will be based on Turnkey projects to supply washed coking and thermal coal to steel and power stations which are located far from the pit head.