• Coal plays an important role in fulfilling the energy requirement of India by meeting about 53% of the energy needs of the country.
  • Lot of methane and other gases, released during coal mining, are vented into the atmosphere to make the coal mining safe. Going by estimates, about 1 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM) equivalent of methane is released in the atmosphere every year (US EPA estimate) on account of coal mining operations.
  • Mitigation and utilization of the methane produced from the coal mining operations has been under focus at Govt. level on account of the accrued advantages like making future mining safe and getting additional source of clean energy.
  • Technology to be adopted for the purpose is under evolving stage in India and an international cooperation in this field was felt essential
  • After establishment of the Clearinghouse, the envisaged activities were taken up and as the first step; an office of the India CMM/CBM Clearinghouse was established in CMPDI with all modern amenities.
  • Highlights of the important activities carried out by the clearinghouse are furnished as under:

Identification of prospective CMM blocks for commercial development:

  • Keeping in view the objective of the Clearinghouse, the work related to identification of suitable blocks within the coalfields having occurrence of high rank coal for commercial development of CMM was taken up on priority.
  • The development of CMM in India will be different from the international scenario, as the prospective coal seams for harnessing of CMM would be a virgin seams lying below the worked out seams.
  • The Indian mining scenario is characterized by low level of mechanization and also slows moving faces. As such, pre-drainage of methane from the working mines/faces, which are followed internationally will be challenging. Pre-drainage of Methane from an active underground highly gassy mine in Moonidih (BCCL) is being taken up as a demonstration project.
  • The technological challenges associated with harnessing of CMM in Indian geo-mining conditions and inputs from the demonstration project on development & utilization of CMM within the mining areas were considered in identifying prospective CMM areas.
  • GoI has given permission to Coal India Limited (CIL) to explore and exploit CBM from its areas under coal mining lease allotted to CIL. Steps have also been taken for the development CBM/CMM in CIL command areas in view of recent government permission as modified guidelines has been issued by MoP&NG to grant rights for exploration and exploitation of CBM from coal bearing areas for which Coal India Limited (CIL) and its Subsidiaries possess mining lease for coal and consolidated terms & conditions under CBM Policy. Initially blocks have been identified in Damodar Valley coalfields which appears to hold comparatively better potentiality for CBM accordingly one block each in Jharia coalfield (in BCCL command area) and in Raniganj coalfield (ECL command area) have been delineated for the commercial development of CBM/CMM.
  • CMPDI has developed capacity for the development of CMM/CBM and accordingly following Projects have been planned for CMM/CBM extraction from CIL leasehold areas:
    • Pre-drainage of Coal Mine Methane and Utilization from Moonidih UG Mine (BCCL), Jharia Coalfield;
    • Jharia CBM Block – I (BCCL), Jharia Coalfield;
    • Raniganj CBM Block (ECL), Raniganj Coalfield.
  • Project Feasibility Reports in-principle approved by respective coal company (i.e; BCCL and ECL) to develop it through MDO mode:
    • Jharia CMM/CBM Block (BCCL Area): A block of about 24.32 sq km clubbing Kapuria, Moonidih, Jarma and Singra blocks for development of CBM in the mining leasehold area of BCCL having resource of 25.22 BCM,
    • Raniganj CMM/CBM Block (ECL Area): An area of 57 sq km under mining leaseholds of Sripur, Satgram and Kunustoria Areas of ECL in Raniganj coalfield for CBM development having resource of 3.93 BCM.
    • Pre-feasibility report on “Pre-drainage of CMM from Moonidih UG mine in Jharia Coalfield” approved and TSD prepared for selection of suitable experienced Developer/Service provider through Global e tender for the selection of the suitable experienced developer/service provider to undertake this job.
  • Further steps have also been taken for identification of additional CMM/CBM blocks in BCCL, CCL and SECL command areas within CIL which appears to hold comparatively better potentiality for CBM. Following CBM blocks have been identified for extraction of CBM/CMM:
    • Sohagpur CBM Block (SECL), Sohagpur Coalfield;
    • East Bokaro CBM Block (CCL), East Bokaro Coalfield;
    • Jharia CBM Block - II (BCCL), Jharia Coalfield;
    • Jharia CBM Block – III (BCCL), Jharia Coalfield;
    • Assam CBM Block (NECfs Area), Assam Coalfield