Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd. (CMPDIL), the wholly-owned consultancy and technical subsidiary of CIL, would commence later this month the exercise to select domestic and foreign exploration agencies to take up detailed exploration projects, a CIL senior official said.

He said exploration projects would be split up across several coal blocks, and number of exploration agencies were expected to be selected based on geological parameters and challenges of each block and respective exploratory capabilities of agencies bidding for the contracts.

Even on the production front of existing operational mines, CIL was increasing its reliance on outsourcing operations to mine developer operators (MDOs) and contractual manpower rather than manpower on its own payrolls.

It was pointed out that since many of the existing coal mines under CIL were nearing the end of their life, it was economical to have equipment and machinery deployed by MDOs rather than incur capital expenditure on its own.

By rough estimates, more than 52% of total coal production achieved during fiscal year 2015-2016 could be accounted for by MDOs and contractual manpower, the official said.

Outsourcing of manpower deployment had also enabled CIL to restructure its own manpower deployment and sharply reduce wage bills, across its operational mines.

During the period of April-December 2015, the government-owned and managed, CIL paid out an estimated $3.34 billion on account of wages to 326,032 employees directly on its payroll. While it had to incur an expense of $585 million on account of 65,000 contractual workers and employees deployed by agencies indicating the proportional lower costs incurred on account of wage bills and the gas pedal would be pressed to speed up this trend over the next couple of years.