The Ministry of Coal aims to engage mining developers cum operators (MDOs) in coal mines, through open global tenders, to ramp up domestic coal production and reduce import dependency.
The contract period of engagement is for 25 years or life of mine whichever is less. The state-owned coal miner is tracking a total of 15 greenfield projects for implementation through MDOs with an investment component to the tune of around Rs 206 billion largely pertaining to land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement issues, and in some cases on railway sidings. Having total rated capacity of around 169 million tonne (mt), 11 of the 15 projects are opencast and remaining four are underground mines. While the capacity of opencast projects is 165 mt, underground projects add up to the rest. The MDOs would excavate and deliver coal to coal companies in accordance with the approved mining plan. MDOs would bring to the table mutually beneficial technology infusion, economically viable operations and increased production. Since contracts offered to them are on long-term basis, allied infrastructure at mine projects also would be developed by these private players. Coal India Limited (CIL) has issued letters of acceptance for nine coal projects to be pursued through engagement of MDO mode. Cumulatively, these projects have production capacity of close to 127 mt per year. Remaining six projects are at different stages of tendering.