State-run Coal India (CIL) plans to open the Siarmal coal mine in Odisha to help address the power crisis in the country, reported Reuters.

The mine is expected to become one of the biggest of its kind in India.

CIL unit Mahanadi Coalfields (MCL) spokesman Vinayak Jamwal was cited by the news agency as saying that the mine is expected to reach a production capacity of 50 million tonnes (Mtpa) in approximately five to seven years.

Jamwal said that infrastructure work was underway for the Siarmal open cast mine, which is being built in a partly forested area.

Furthermore, Coal India is planning to sell a 25% stake each in wholly owned subsidiaries Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) and consultancy arm Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI), reported Financial Express, citing company sources.

A CIL official said: “The CIL board has given an in-principle approval for a 25% stake sale in BCCL and CMPDI, subject to government approval.”

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As part of the latest sale plan, the firm would appoint merchant bankers and launch tenders upon securing a government permit.

Due to the increased power demand as a result of a heatwave, the Indian Government had reversed a policy on cutting coal imports.

India is also planning to reopen closed mines to address the surging power demand besides plans to have 450GW of installed renewable energy by the end of this decade.

In the financial year to March 2023, CIL looks to open two additional mines that would have a combined annual capacity of 7Mt, according to officials.

Coal India accounts for 80% of the country’s domestic coal production. The firm intends to produce 700Mt of coal this year and increase its capacity to one billion tonnes by 2025.