Coal India on Rs 10000 cr equipment buying spree

New Delhi, May 23: Coal India has embarked upon a Rs 10,000 crore shopping spree for latest highcapacity mining equipment as it aims to meet a target of producing 660 million tonnes of black diamond in 2019-20, a move that will require raising annual output by 8-9% in the current fiscal.
“Coal India’s journey began with 700 mines and seven lakh workers after it was created through nationalisation of coal mines. Today, there are 369 mines and three lakh workers. We closed 2018-19 with a production of 607 million tonnes. Some 70% of this production came from 40 mines, where we have modern equipment and technology. Equipment has to be upgraded in other mines to raise output quickly and efficiently,” company chairman Anil Kumar Jha told TOI. He said the company would be spending Rs 2,000 crore a year over the next five years to acquire high-capacity earth-moving and excavating equipment.
“Decision on Rs 7,500 crore worth procurement has been taken. Some of the contracts are in the process of being awarded, while tenders for others have either been floated or are being prepared,” Jha said. The company will spend Rs 2,500-3,000 crore on new equipment in 2019-20.
This is the first major equipment purchase drive in 3-4 years by the world’s largest coal miner, which meets more than 80% of the country’s requirement. Efforts to upgrade equipment on a large scale had remained stalled in the past due to rivalry among a limited number of manufacturer-suppliers globally, prompting allegations of bias every time a contract was on the anvil.
But introduction of a transparent e-procurement process with reverse auction in 2016 has changed the scenario, allowing the management to take decisions without fear of falling foul of oversight bodies. The company needs high-capacity machines since most of its production comes from open cast mines. These equipment will help raise production quickly by faster removal of overburden (earth and rock layers covering coal seams) and heavy-duty mining.