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MCL shuts major Odisha coal mine over approval delay

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Odisha Sun Times Biz Bureau
Bhubaneswar, March 16:
Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a unit of state-run Coal India, Saturday shut operations at one of its major mines in Odisha as it did not have clearance to extract more coal from it, a senior company official said.

(pic credit : projectsmonitor.com)
(pic credit : projectsmonitor.com)
Although the open cast mine at Lakhanpur in the district of Jharsuguda has a capacity to produce 18.75 million tonnes of coal a year, the MCL has environment clearance for extracting only 15 million tonne.
“Since this limit has already been reached yesterday (Friday) and the company did not have permission to extract more, there was no other way but to shutdown the operation” he said.
MCL had submitted an application to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in March 2012 for environment clearance to increase coal production from 15 million tonnes to 18.75 million tonnes a year from this mine.
“But the clearance for additional 3.75 million tonnes has not yet been granted, he said.
MCL, the second largest coal producing unit of the Coal India produced about 108 million tonnes coal in 2012-13 and was given a higher production target of 120 million tonnes for the current fiscal.
More than four million tonnes coal of the mine is lying exposed but due to pending environment clearance for expansion it can not excavate more coal, he said.
MCL, with its headquarters in Burla town in Sambalpur district supplies coal to several power companies in south India and
Odisha, including the state power utility NTPC (earlier National Thermal Power Corporation), Talcher Thermal Power Station and aluminium maker Nalco.