Kolkata, April 19 (IANS) In a bid to increase production, state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL), the world’s largest coal miner, is planning to extract nearly two to three billion tonnes of coal reserves locked up as pillars in its existing and abandoned mines, a top official said Friday.
“Some 2-3 billion tonnes of coal are locked up in underground mines as pillars,” CIL chairman S. Narsing Rao said here.
According to Rao, it would be easier to hike production of coal from these assets as infrastructure for lifting this locked-up coal already existed.
Miners leave out pillar-like structures of coal as they cut out the mineral from underground mines. These pillars hold up the ceiling and prevent it from collapsing. However, they restrict the recovery of the fuel by 30 percent of coal reserves from these mines.
The coal major said if it became successful in extracting these underground assets locked up as pillars, then annual coal production could be enhanced by about 10 million tonnes annually.
Rao was speaking at an event of the Indian School of Mines Alumni Association.
He urged mining experts and the association to come up with mine-specific projects on the recovery of coal assets.