Essar coal block gets green nod along with many others

Essar Energy has received environmental clearance for starting work on the Mahan coal block in Madhya Pradesh, which will feed its proposed 1,200-mw power project in the state.

"The (union) Ministry of Environment & Forests has given its approval to mine coal from the Mahan coal block in Madhya Pradesh to Essar Energy," the company said in a statement.

PTI had reported that the government has granted forest clearances for as many as 12 coal mines in the past two months.

The MoEF has issued the approvals, including permission to mine in forest areas, for about 10-12 mine blocks over the past two months, according to the report.

Apart from the Mahan mine, others mines include Tokisud North in Jharkhand (GVK Power), Mandla North in MP (Jaiprakash Associates), Utkal B1 and B2 in Orissa (JSPL, Monnet Ispat & Energy, respectively), Jamkhani in Orissa (Bhushan Steel & Power), and Mandakini in Orissa  (Ispat/Jindal/Tata).

Essar Power, a unit of Essar Energy, holds a 50-per cent stake in Mahan Coal Ltd, a joint venture with Hindalco Industries that will mine the block.

The approval is subject to some conditions, the company said. Mahan Coal will have to sign a mining lease agreement with the state before starting operations.

Environmental action group Greenpeace had asked the central government to cancel the allotment of the Mahan block, alleging it had been awarded in 2006 in an opaque manner.

At an estimated peak output of 8.5 million tonnes of coal, the mine will feed the 1,200 mw generation capacity of Essar Energy and a 900 mw project of Hindalco.