Coal India to target output of 510 mt in 2015: Coal Secy

State-run coal miner Coal India  , which aims to increase its output to 1 billion metric tonne (mt) by 2019 from 462 mt in 2014, is targeting production of 510 mt in 2015, coal secretary Anil Swarup told CNBC-TV18 in an interview where he discussed several important issues including the upcoming coal auctions and the prospects of the government allowing commercial coal mining. In the interview, Swarup said the government has been working with the railways ministry to address the issue of evacuation of coal and said that he expected Coal India to scale up its output in a big way from 2016 onwards once railways succeed in augmenting infrastructure to transport coal. Coal India has struggled to increase its output, producing 431, 435, 452 and 462 mt, respectively, from 2011 through to 2014, even as power plants around the country (about two-thirds of which run on the mineral) are starved of the fuel. Experts blame the lack of competition in the nationalized coal sector (apart from Coal India, only private and state companies in the power, cement and steel sectors having end use for coal are allowed to mine) and Coal India’s inefficient, archaic mining techniques as the reason India still needs to import a significant part of its coal requirement despite having rich reserves. But Swarup said that with the recent appointment of a new head at Coal India, the ministry was now looking to work with the company to significantly increase output.

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