Govt identifies 299 discontinued, abandoned, closed coal mines for closure

The government has identified 299 discontinued, abandoned or closed coal mines for closure, said the Ministry of Coal
Govt identifies 299 discontinued, abandoned, closed coal mines for closure
Govt identifies 299 discontinued, abandoned, closed coal mines for closureEnergy Watch

New Delhi: The government has identified 299 discontinued, abandoned or closed coal mines for closure, said the Ministry of Coal on Friday. “Mines closed before 2009 often lacked a structured closure framework, leading to non-scientific closures. Acknowledging the physical hazards and environmental consequences associated with these abandoned mines, the Ministry issued guidelines in October 2022 for managing mines closed before 2009, categorising them as discontinued, abandoned or closed,” said the Coal Ministry. Resultantly, a total of 169 pre-2009 and 130 post-2009 mines, considered abandoned, discontinued, or closed, have been identified, said the ministry.

Coal India has prepared Final Mine Closure Plans for 63 pre-2009 mines

In line with the ministry’s plan, state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) has identified and taken proactive steps towards the closure of mines, said the ministry. Of 169 pre-2009 mines, 68 coal mines are marked for final closure, with 63 Final Mine Closure Plans (FMCPs) diligently prepared. Additionally, 14 pre-2009 mines are designated for temporary closure, with comprehensive Temporary Mine Closure Plans (TMCPs) developed for each.

Regarding post-2009 mines, Coal India Ltd is actively preparing 35 FMCPs, showcasing the commitment to responsible mine closures, said the ministry. Simultaneously, Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) has identified six pre-2009 mines for temporary closure and five post-2009 mines for final closure. “Notably, mine closure activities are already underway for these identified mines, underscoring the commitment of both Coal India Ltd and SCCL to environmental sustainability,” said the Coal Ministry.

CMPDI has developed centralised portal for tracking coal mine closure

To streamline and monitor these comprehensive closure activities, the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) has developed a portal. This centralised source allows for the monitoring of closure activities, including reclamation, air and water quality post-closure, land repurposing, and social support measures. “These initiatives collectively signify a paradigm shift towards responsible and scientifically sound mine closures, aligning with the Ministry of Coal’s commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being,” said the government.

In addition, the ministry has appointed an expert committee to review existing mine plan guidelines to strengthen mine closure framework and to adopt best international practices.

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The Ministry of Coal introduced Mine Closure guidelines in 2009, subsequently revised them in 2013 and 2020.

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