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Interview: Gurudas Mustafi, CEO & Director, MBE Coal & Mineral Technology India Private Limited

Gurudas Mustafi discusses solutions to the environmental issues of transporting large volumes of coal, including the construction of coal washeries. Plus, Gurudas tells us which topics he is looking forward to hearing discussed at Coaltrans India.

As we know, Coal India Ltd is planning to increase its production to a billion tonnes – but what are the environmental regulations on transporting greater volumes of coal that need to be considered?

This is definitely an important issue and both coal producing and using companies are required to adhere to the regulations of the Ministry of Environment & Forests which are gradually being made more stringent. The Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2014 in the Gazette of India dated 2nd January, 2014 stipulates that:

    - The ash content of coal supplied to and used by power plants must not exceed 34% on a quarterly average basis.
    - This also applies to captive TPPs of more than 100MW or standalone TPPs of any capacity that are:

a) in an urban, ecologically sensitive or critically polluted area
b) located further than 500km away from a pit-head. This distance was previously reduced from 1000kmto 750km before being reduced again as of 05.06.15.

    - Pit-head power plants are exempt from this.

Does this also affect imported coal?

Well, coal which is imported has an ash content well below the stipulated cut-off point of 34% and so, except for the inadequacy of handling facilities at ports and the inland transportation systems, there should not be any issue as far as environmental regulations are concerned.

At the 15th Coaltrans India in March, you will be speaking about the construction of coal washeries to tackle this issue. Will there be a need for many more washeries and can they be constructed quickly enough?

The existing washing capacity for non-coking coal is shown as 95.96 Mio T, according to the report of the working group on coal & lignite for formulation of twelfth five year plan (2012- 2017). It was anticipated that by the end of the 12th five year plan, this capacity would increase to 199 Mio T.

The volume of production was projected at 634 Mio T and it was envisaged that 360 Mio T of this would be an inferior grade of coal that would need to be washed. Therefore the washing capacity shortfall would be around 161 Mio T which would still have to be built.

Now this figure will go much higher when we talk about production of 1 Bio. T by Coal India plus another 500 Mio. T from the private sector by 2020.

Yes, we had deliberated on this issue of speedier construction of washeries in a workshop organized by CMPDI in September2015 in Ranchi where certain proposals were made which have been taken into consideration. We can discuss details of it during the conference.

Who will be constructing these washeries? Is there an opportunity for investment here?

Domestic players will be taking the lead from the construction point of view, but for large capacity plants viz. 25 MTPA and above, the domestic companies will have to cooperate with internationally experienced construction companies.
By and large these plants of Coal India will be funded by the client either through BOM or EPC route; however the mines being developed through MDO route, which also has coal washeries planned / attached to it, will look for investment from the companies who will set up and operate the washeries for them.

Which other topics are you most looking forward to hearing discussed at Coaltrans India?

    - Actual production status of the coal mines auctioned
    - Will mines auctioned be commercially viable to produce?
    - Matching with the increased production by CIL, will there be an offtake by the power producers, especially the state owned units?

You can hear more from Gurudas at the 15th Coaltrans India, where he will be discussing 'Coal Washeries: Reducing construction time to keep up with coal production'.


This content is provided by Coaltrans Conferences for informational purposes only, and it reflects the market and industry conditions and presenter’s opinions and affiliations available at the time of the presentation.

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