India's coal imports down 21% in January as CIL ramps up production

India's coal imports in January fell 21 per cent from the previous month as state-owned Coal India ramped up production at new and existing mines, online trader mjunction said. Coal imports are expected to fall further with more mines coming under production following fresh allocation of coal blocks.

Coal imports into the country at 15.79 million tonnes in January are, however, estimated to be 3 per cent higher compared to a year earlier. Shipments were much lower than the revised figure of 20 million tonnes for December, mjunction said.

January imports were also affected by Christmas and New Year holidays, said Viresh Oberoi, chief executive and managing director of mjunction.

Coal India's April-January output rose 6 per cent to 389 million tonnes as it opened new mines and got environmental clearances to raise output from operating mines.

January imports included 12.76 million tonnes of power-generating thermal coal and 2.40 million steelmaking coking coal, according to port data from mjunction, a joint venture of Tata Steel and the Steel Authority of India Ltd.

Meanwhile, the allotment process for 36 coal mines to state-owned companies started on 22 January 2015 with the release of notice inviting applications (NIA) in newspapers. As a part of the allotment process, online applications and offline supporting documents were opened today from 3:00 pm in the presence of applicants.

A maximum of 9 applications were received for Gare Palma Sector II coal mine whereas no application was received in respect of Barjora (North) coal mine.

These applications will now be evaluated by a technical evaluation committee.