The washeries will be built at Talcher with capacity of 10 million metric tons per year (mtpy); Ib Valley, 10 million mtpy; Lakhanpur, 20 mtpy; Sarmal, 40 million mtpy; and Kaniha, 20 million mtpy. The ash content from these mines averages about 40% and MCL intends to reduce it through beneficiation. MCL produced about 121 million mt of coal in 2014-2015 with plans to ramp it up to levels of around 250 million mtpy by 2020, in line with CIL’s target to hit a production target of 1 billion mtpy by that year, the official said.

MCL’s coal washery projects were significant inasmuch as the tardy implementation of increasing coal beneficiation over the years. At present, CIL operated 17 washeries with total combined capacity of a mere 39.4 million mt. Of these, 13 were coking coal washeries with combined capacity of 24.9 million mtpy while four were non-coking coal washeries with capacity of 14.5 million mtpy.

Last year, a committee of Indian parliamentarians had flayed the government-owned miner CIL for failing to increase beneficiation capacity, particularly in view of the fact that laws had been changed, making it compulsory for thermal power companies to use coal with ash content less than 34% for all power plants located 1,000 km away from pitheads.