According to a CIL official, the global experts would initially be mandated to conduct studies across 90 underground mines and submit a preliminary report by March 31, 2015.

This would be followed up by mine specific studies and the expert consultants would be responsible to suggest a definite action plan taking into account individual parameters of each of the underground mines, he said.

The task of the consultants would be twofold — recommend intensive mechanization of currently operational underground mines, which were heavily manpower intensive and technological recommendations for reviving underground mines that have been closed down by CIL over a period of time, but still had recoverable resources, the official added.

CIL’s initiative to rope in global mining consultants with special expertise in underground mining was a precursor to the Indian government’s plan to offer incentive to modernize the miner’s ageing underground asset, which were either defunct or showing falling production trend.