Western Coalfields plans to set up four washeries in Maha

Mumbai :Concerned over high ash content in coal, state-owned Western Coalfields (WCL) is planing to set up four washeries in Maharashtra and is evaluating entering joint ventures for the same, a top company official said.

“The coal that we have currently, has ash content to the extent of 34 per cent. Therefore, we have to either blend and bring the levels down or set up washeries,” WCL Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Mishra told PTI here.

Western Coalfields is one of the eight subsidiaries of Coal India (CIL).

He said WCL is planning to set up four washeries with three near Wardha Valley coalfield in Chandrapur and one near Umrer Nand Bander coalfield in Nagpur.

The company has reserves of 820 million tonnes per annum at Wardha Valley coalfields and 210 mtpa at Umrer. “With the washeries, we hope we will be able to clean at least 10-12 per cent of existing coal,” he said.

As per Mishra, the company is looking at entering into partnerships for setting up washeries. He said they are in talks with many firms including Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Company for tying up for setting up washeries.

“We can set up washeries on our own. But we are looking at a JV partner to ensure the product that comes out will be consumed by the consumer,” he added.

Mishra said the company also expects to enhance its coal production to up to 80 million tonne per annum (mtpa), which is almost 20 mtpa more than the target set by Coal India to achieve one billion tonne production by 2020.

“We produce over 30 mtpa. We are hopeful of increasing the capacity to 50 mtpa next year and by 2020, we are confident of increasing the capacity to up to 80 mtpa against the target of 60 mtpa set by the government,” Mishra said.