MINUTES OF 49th EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE (EAC) (THERMAL & COAL MINING) MEETING HELD ON 14th-15th MAY 2012 IN SCOPE COMPLEX, LODI ROAD, NEW DELHI.

 

 

COAL MINING PROJECTS

The 49th meeting of the reconstituted EAC (T &C) was held on 14th-15th May 2012 in SCOPE Convention Centre, SCOPE Complex, New Delhi to consider the projects of coal mining sector. The list of participants of EAC and the proponents are given at Annexure-1 and 2 respectively.

Confirmation of minutes

The minutes of the 47th meeting of EAC (T&C) held on 23rd-24th April 2012 was confirmed.

 

The agenda items were taken up as given below:

 

 

1.         Bithnok Lignite Mine Project (2.1 MTPA) of M/s Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd. to be located at Bithnok, District Bikaner, Rajasthan (Further consideration of EC based on TOR 13.04.2007)

 

Director, MOEF informed that a letter dated 11.05.2012 was received from the project proponent, namely M/s Neyveli Lignite Corp. Ltd requesting for deferment of consideration of their project to the next EAC (T&C) meeting.

 

 

2.         Special Agenda Item of EAC (Thermal Power & Coal Mining) - Meeting with Chairman, Coal India Ltd.

 

Chairman, EAC Committee (T&C) welcomed Shri Narsing Rao, Chairman, Coal India Limited and congratulated Shri Rao on his appointment as Chairman, Coal India Ltd. and wished him all success and thanked him for giving his time to attend the meeting. Chairman, EAC stated that Coal India Ltd. being the single largest coal producer in the country, has a number of challenges in terms of meeting targets of coal production. Chairman, EAC stated that the meeting with the Chairman, CIL could help address the various issues identified by the EAC (T&C) from time to time during the process of appraisal of coal projects and in further streamlining the environmental clearance process for projects of Coal India companies. Chairman EAC further stated that since the same EAC also appraises thermal power projects for EC , sought details of the status of Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) entered with/to be entered with power utilities, since this has a direct bearing on the projects being submitted to MOEF/EAC (Thermal Power) for environmental clearance.

 

Chairman, CIL discussed the following issues:

 

(i)             Chairman, Coal India Limited informed that during 2011-12, production of coal from CIL was 435.84 MT against the projected target of 447 MT Coal and of this, about 70% is for Thermal Power Plants. Chairman, CIL informed that CIL has the option to import the coal to meet the deficit, and many public sector companies are importing the coal. In current year, about 40 MT of coal would be imported.

 

 

(ii)            In regard to supply of coal to power utilities through the FSA route, Chairman, CIL informed that the prevalent practice has been that FSAs are entered with Power, Cement and Steel Sectors and CIL has recently signed Fuel Supply Agreement (FSAs) with several companies of power, steel and other sectors. Of these, 13 FSAs have been signed with power utilities and 51 FSA are yet to be signed. The process of obtaining bank guarantees has also become difficult in the event that an assured supply of coal may not be available. Chairman, CIL informed that the Coal Policy was updated in 2007 whereby Central PSUs/Private companies are now authorised to give surplus coal transferred to nearest CIL subsidiary for sale of coal through e-auctions in open market.

 

 

(iii)           Chairman, CIL informed that only a limited amount of coal produced by CIL has been sold by e-auction for such units that are pit-head, without access to railway siding/transport by rail and are small traders and consumers. The CIL sold a total of 38 MT (7.5%) during 2011-2012 by e-auction. The current levels of coal production and that forecast during the 12th Five-Year Plan for CIL, may not meet the entire requirements of the power sector through the FSA route.

 

 

(iv)          Chairman, CIL also explained the background on the allocation of coal blocks for captive coal mining of mainly Power and Steel sectors and in this context, the new blocks that are now planned to be auctioned by the Ministry of Coal were also discussed.

 

 

In regard to issues concerning coal mining, the following issues were discussed:

 

(i)             Chairman, EAC (T&C) stated that during pre-independence period and during the first few decades following independence, coal mining in our country was largely underground. In the mid seventies onwards and to the present, there has been a gradual but definite shift towards opencast mining for meeting coal production targets. As a result, much of the expertise available in the country for UG mining has been lost over the years. Presently, the trend towards opencast mining is so high that coal mine projects are being conceived by CIL/CMPDI/captive coal mining companies even upto mining depths of 400m, which may be better from coal conservation point of view, but cause significantly higher environmental damage often ignoring the environmental and social issues thereof. The EAC requested that coal projects, right from formulation stage, must incorporate/address the environmental/social aspects of the coal mine projects and make appropriative choices of mining methods and technologies. Chairman, EAC desired that Mining Plans should be prepared by a multidisciplinary group comprising of professionals with expertise in areas such as Mining Engineering, Ecological Restoration, Sociology, Mines Safety, etc. and cost of such project must appropriately reflect the costs for damages/destruction of environment.

 

 

(ii)            Chairman, CIL informed that both China and India had both started at the same time during the early eighties for introduction of Longwall Underground mining. Presently, China has about 400 Longwall faces for mining an estimated 2.5 Billion Tonnes of Coal as compared to 3-4 LW mining in our country. He stated, while geo-mining conditions could be one of the attributes, but there is a definite scope for greater introduction of underground mining with Longwall technology in our country. It was stated that this technology is particularly feasible in coalmine projects of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

 

 

(iii)           It was explained that one of the reasons for UG mining not having taken off in a large way is that the projects have a long gestation period and requirement of a minimum seam thickness of about 2m. The EAC stated that although, the cost of production by UG mining appear to be higher, it is so because the costs of permanent changes to landuse, land degradation and damage to ecosystems, permanent loss of livelihood and associated social impacts are not reflected/integrated in the cost estimates of the projects of opencast coalmines of CIL, making the cost-benefits skewed in terms of actual returns to the nation. The EAC requested that this issue is particularly important, especially in areas where there are dense pristine forests and prime agricultural land. The EAC requested the introduction of a well laid out “Corporate Environmental Responsibility” in Coal India companies vide MOEF Circular dated 26.04.2011.

 

 

(iv)          The EAC emphasised a strong need for a dedicated cadre of professions which includes technical persons drawn from environmental and social sectors in both Coal India as well as in CMPDI. The EAC also requested that such a Cadre should be made as an independent stream with good promotional avenues and with equivalent posts as in Planning and Operations of Coal India Subsidiaries, so that the environmental and social aspects do not get ignored for achieving targets of coal production. In this context, the existing system of the working of CIL, CIL subsidiaries and CMPDI and powers of decisions making were discussed.

 

 

(v)           In regard to opencast mining, the EAC emphasised the need for sequential operation of quarries and backfilling of mine voids to minimise the need for external OB dumping. The EAC informed that the State of Orissa has banned land acquisition for storing OB externally. The EAC requested that operation of adjoining mines could also be staggered to minimise the need for additional land for external OB dumps and would lead to more efficient use of equipment, machinery within the coalfields. The EAC requested that project be formulated for use of mineralised area for temporary storage of OB externally and for re-handling of OB for backfilling of mine voids as the mine progresses.

 

 

(vi)          The EAC also stated that the concept of habitat restoration of mined out areas similar to that in pre-mining period is an integral part of the projects and requires greater attention. The Guidelines formulated by the Ministry of Coal require being implemented by the coal companies. The EAC stated that projects are kept in suspension for future expansion of mine and desired that such mines should be scientifically closed vide provisions of the regulations. The EAC stated that there has been a divergent view between the EAC and the coal companies on the matter of filling up of mine voids upto 30-40m depth for ecological productivity, due to cost considerations. It was decided that this matter requires to be discussed in greater detail.

 

In this context, it was informed that BCCL has already taken up the reclamation work on two OB dumps of about 7 ha through the technical guidance of Prof C.R.Babu, Prof Emeritus, Delhi University. The Committee desired that a workshop could be organised in first week of June 2012 with all the Coal India subsidiaries to start similar demo projects in their coalfields.

 

 

(vii)         In the context of backfilling of mine voids, the Flyash Notification 2009, which has listed dumping of flyash into mine voids as an option was discussed. The Committee expressed its reservations that unless the long-term effects are studied and appropriate mitigative measures are suitably in place, flyash dumping can lead to heavy metal contamination of ground water aquifers of coalfields.

 

 

(viii)        The EAC also was of the view that many projects are started without completion of exploration of coal blocks and as a result, projects are formulated not always on the basis of appropriate technology and mining methods for the total reserves extractable/mineable found in the block.

 

 

(ix)          The EAC emphasised the need for shifting from manual operations (including manual loading) to mechanised operations, as it was noted that there are presently there is a large work force employed for manual operations alone, the mechanised operations are also more efficient (1.5 output/man shifts as compared to 0.5 with manual loading overall), but also less polluting, safe and environment-friendly.

 

 

(x)           The EAC stated that until recently before captive coal mining was introduced in the country, coal blocks were being mainly operated by Coal India subsidiaries. However, a dedicated coal evacuation-cum-transportation system for coalfields involving mechanised system of rapid loading using silos, environmental-friendly means of transportation within the mines using ropeway/conveyor from mine face–CHP-railways siding and thereafter transport by rail has not been implemented. Since coal transportation is the largest source of fugitive dust emissions in coal mining areas, many of the coalfields have been rendered “Critically Polluted Areas” as per a CPCB/IIT study. The EAC desired that a seamless Integrated Coal evacuation-cum-transportation system needs to be put in place in all the coalfields.

 

 

(xi)          EAC (T&C) stated that in order to minimise fugitive dust emissions in the coalfields, a 3-tier green belt is required to be developed all along the coal transportation routes, between mines and mine operations and habitations, all vacant/undisturbed areas and in reclaimed areas. It was the view that green belt development in coalmining areas requires greater attention.

 

 

(xii)         The EAC (T&C) stated that since more and more projects are being outsourced, the issues concerning environment and quality of life of the outsourced personnel including providing a colony for the outsourced personnel with amenities and issues such as occupational health and safety of the outsourced personnel need to be given equal importance.

 

 

(xiii)        The EAC (T&C) appreciated that the CIL has adopted a Policy for earmarking Rs 5/T of coal produced and project specific CSR for Rs 5/T of coal to be spent within in 10 km study area around the project Plan are being prepared. The EAC stated that an estimated Rs 218 crores has been earmarked for 2011-12 and details of yearly spending on CSR need to be documented. It was stated that Micro Planning of spending CSR budget is essential in consultation with the local administration and local communities. Reports on Third Party Evaluation of the amount spent and the specific activities also need to be brought out and made a part of Corporate Social Responsibility of Coal India Subsidiaries.

 

 

(xiv)        The EAC (T&C) desired that an independent post-project monitoring and Third Party Evaluation of implementation of the EC granted to coalmine projects and audit of money spent on CSR, EMP, and R&R should be regularly undertaken through recognised institutions of relevant discipline and their reports made an integral part of the reporting process of the Coal India companies and also regularly uploaded on the companies’ websites.

 

 

(xv)         The matter of supply of poor-quality coal being supplied to TPPs and in particular, the example of coal from WCL supplied to MAHAGENCO STPS at Chandrapur, for which the EAC had made a site visit on 27.09.2011, was discussed. Member Secretary (Thermal) stated that coal characteristics including ash content, moisture, presence of trace metals in flyash, etc are important; therefore, regular analysis of coal should be carried out by CIL as coal from each coalfields has its own characteristics.

            In this context, DD (BS) informed that the National Green Tribunal has recently issued an Order on the presence of radioactive content in fly ash and hence the radioactive content in coal should also be assessed at the coal mines and characterization of each coal mine on the presence of radio active content in coal is very important. DD (BS) further stated that monitoring of same is required. DD(BS) further stated that the National Green Tribunal has also expressed concern on the presence of mercury in coal.

 

 

(xvi)        The Committee desired that CIL implement a plan for establishment of washeries for washing poor-grade coal. Member Secretary (Thermal) informed that coal with 34% fly ash is insisted upon in ECs granted to TPPS even if they are located within 1000km.  Chairman, CIL informed that coal from Talcher Coalfields, Orissa has an ash content of 45% or more and a plan to establish about 20 washeries in the country for 100MT capacity is on the anvil.

 

(xix)      Chairman, EAC (T&C) also mentioned about the problems of fire and subsidence in         Raniganj and Jharia coal fields and stated that the good quality coal is being destroyed   by the   uncontrolled fires raging in the coalfields. The Chairman, EAC desired that a multi-disciplinary   Task Force with expertise in areas such as Mining Engineering, Ecological Restoration,      Sociology, Fire Control, Mines Safety should be formulated for effectively addressing the matter.          

 

(xx)       EAC requested Chairman, CIL for regular environmental awareness drives at the level of the         Area Manager and at the mine level.

 

 

The EAC (T&C) expressed its appreciation to Chairman, Coal India Ltd. for sparing his valuable time for the meeting. Chairman, CIL assured that the issues as discussed above would be looked into. The special meeting on Agenda Item 2 ended with a vote of thanks to Chairman, CIL.

 

 

 

3.         Expansion of Coal Beneficiation Plant (2 MTPA to 4 MTPA) of M/s Global Coal & Mining Pvt. Ltd., in village Tentulei, South Balanad, Tehsil Talcher, dist. Angul, Orissa (Further internal consideration of EC based on TOR granted on 31.12.2008)

 

The Director (T&C) informed the committee that the proposal is for expansion of the coal washery from 2 MTPA to 4 MTPA was earlier considered EAC (T&C) meeting held on 20th -21st June 2011 and again EAC (T&C) Meeting held on 21st-22nd February 2012, wherein the Committee had desired that the quantum of raw coal, clean coal and coal rejects be furnished in MTPA along with TPD for record of the Ministry.  The Committee was of the view that the AAQ levels were low despite being located in a CPA and desired that the details should be got checked from Dr.Shiv Attri, Expert, EAC. The Committee had desired that no pay loaders should be deployed for wagon loading.

 

Dr Shiv Attri member, EAC informed vide e-mail dated 08.05.2012 that the  AAQ quality data provided by M/s Global Coal & Mining pertain to the period 1st September to 5th December 2011 instead of October 2011 to December 2011. The Committee desired that the PP should furnish AAQ for the one-season only for the period October-December 2011. It was informed that the other details sought by the EAC (T&C) are still awaited.

 

The Committee decided to further consider the matter upon receipt of the aforesaid details.

 

 

4.         Chhinda OCP Expn. (0.18 MTPA to 0.65 MTPA in an ML area of 106.68 ha) of M/s Western Coalfields Ltd., located in dist. Chindwara, M.P. (Further consideration of EC based on TOR granted on 15.07.2011)

 

The proposal is for expansion in production from 0.18 MTPA to 0.65 MTPA with in the existing mine lease area of 106.68 ha. The proposal was earlier considered in EAC (T&C) meeting held on 19 March 2012, wherein the Committee had sought details of P.H. along with details of activities undertaken under CSR since the grant of earlier EC and a CSR Plan for the activities proposed for the balance life of the mine. The Committee desired that the land should be restored to agricultural use after backfilling. The response thereto was considered.

 

The proponent presented details of Public Hearing held on 4th February 2012. It was informed that cracks have occurred in the houses of nearby villages although blasting is being carried out with the permission of Director General of Mines Safety. It was clarified that cracks have been noticed in kutccha houses whereas in the same locality, no cracks have been noted in pucca houses. It was informed that the transportation of coal is by road. Arrangement for Water sprinkling on haul road and other non-metalled road have been made. In regard to changing to mechanically covered trucks, it was informed that the matter has been taken up with Automotive Research Association of India, Pune; who are designing mechanically covered trucks for transportation of coal. It was informed that an amount of Rs 11.85 lakhs has been spent on CSR activities till date and Rs 64.61 Lakh is earmarked for the balance life of the project or @Rs 5 /T of coal, whichever is higher. Proponent informed that the technical reclamation and other suitable treatment of degraded land would be done during Mine closure and land would be made suitable to be used for agricultural purpose. It was informed that water for drinking is being supplied to villagers. It was informed that Chhinda OCP is located at a distance of about 50km from the Pench-Satpura Tiger Corridor Balance life of the mine is 7 years.

 

The Committee desired that project specific mtigative measures should be presented in future before the Committee. The Committee suggested that mitigative measures for reducing fugitive dust emissions should be taken up as WCL colony is at the distance of 100m and Chhinda village is 300m away from Chhinda OCP mine site. The Committee noted that relocation of Chhinda village is not feasible. The Committee desired that a 200m wide green belt should be preferably developed depending on the availability of land in non-mineralised area as large number of structures, road, and settlement are existing between the mine and Chhinda village. The Committee desired that a plan for repairing/plugging the cracks found in houses should be drawn up and implemented. The Committee also desired that that a barrier consisting of 3-tier green belt and in particular, thickets of bamboo plantations should be developed between the mine and habitations. The Committee desired that in case the villagers are not in favour of planting bamboo near their agriculture fields, other native species could be planted. The Committee observed that the transportation of coal from the mine face to surface is by 10-T trucks, should be covered. The Committee desired that all the trucks used for coal transportation outside the mine should be mechanically covered. The Committee desired that the recommendation made in the MOEF Report for mines in the Pench-Kanhan Coalfields should be implemented.

 

The Committee recommended the project for environmental clearance.

 

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.

 

*              *        *

 

 

 


Annexure-1

 

 

PARTICIPANTS IN 49th EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE (THERMAL & COAL MINING) IN THE MEETING HELD ON 14th-15th MAY 2012 ON COAL SECTOR PROJECTS

 

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1.       Shri V.P. Raja                                                                              Chairman

 

2.       Prof. C.R. Babu                                                                           Vice-Chairman

         

3.       Shri T.K. Dhar                                                ……                           Member

 

4.       Shri J.L. Mehta                                                                            Member

 

5.       Dr.G.S.Roonwal                                             ….                             Member

 

6.       Dr. Shiv Attri (1st day)                                                                   Member

 

7.       Dr. T. Chandini                                                                             Scientist F MOEF

 

8.       Dr.Rubab Jaffer                                    ….                 ….                    Scientist B

 

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Dr.R.K.Garg, Advisor (Env. & Forests), M/s Coal India Ltd. was a special Invitee for the meeting and attended on the first day.

 

Dr. P.L. Ahujarai, Director, MOEF and Member-Secretary, Thermal Power Sector and Shri W.Bharat Singh, Deputy Director, Thermal Power Sector attended the meeting w.r.t Agenda Item No.2.

 

 


 

Annexure-2

 

PARTICIPANTS IN 49th EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE (THERMAL & COAL MINING) IN THE MEETING HELD ON 14th-15th MAY 2012 ON COAL SECTOR PROJECTS

 

 

 

2.         M/s Coal India Ltd.

            1.         Shri S, Narsing Rao

                        Chairman, Coal India Ltd.

           

            2.         Dr.R.K.Garg,

                        Advisor (Env. & Forests),

                        M/s Coal India Ltd.

 

            3.         Shri D. Srivastava

                        Chief Manager, CIL

 

4.         M/s Western Coalfields Ltd.

            1.         Shri K Chakraborty, WCL, GM (Mining)

            2.         Shri A C Ray, WCL, GM (Env.)

               

 

 

 

 

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