Union coal minister Pralhad Joshi gave assurances that India has sufficient coal reserves and said on Wednesday the country would start exporting the solid fuel by 2025-26.
India is moving from a net importer of coal to a net exporter of non-coking coal, Joshi said on the sidelines of the seventh round of auctions for commercial coal block mining in the national capital.
The minister also assured uninterrupted coal supplies in the upcoming summer season – when peak demand is expected to be 229 GW in April.
Domestic demand for coal is estimated at 1,087 million tons in the current fiscal year. The industry covers part of its needs through imports.
According to the Ministry of Coal, India’s total estimated coal reserve as of April 1, 2022 was 3.61 million tonnes (MT).
Answering a question related to imports, he said India’s imports of substitutable coal amounted to 90 MT, which will be halted until 2025-26 when the country starts exporting the dry fuel.
“Except for coking coal, we will stop the (import of) steam coal,” he said.
The power plants designed to run on imported coal can still import, but if they change technology, they can also be domestically supplied, Joshi said.
The minister went on to say: “Record coal production of almost 900 tonnes was achieved in FY23 and we currently have coal stocks of 116 to 117 tonnes. I assure the country of an uninterrupted supply of coal in summer or in the rainy season.”
Both private and public companies have been ordered to continue their coal production in April and May.