Coal India is holding talks with Australian companies to acquire a new technology that will enable it to extract more than 70% of additional coal from its loss-making underground mines.
At present, Coal India uses the bord and pillar technology, which involves building pillars of coal to keep the mines from caving in.
After mining the reserves to support the roof, the pillars are said to be left untouched.
A Coal India official told The Economic Times: "Coal India is using the bord and pillar technique in about 230 of its mines.
"About 40 million tonnes (Mt) of coal per mine is locked in the pillars at the moment. We are interested in the technology that will help us extract coal that otherwise is left untapped."
Coal India plans to acquire technologies that include a technique for filling gaps left after extracting coal from the pillars with a waste product fly-ash, which is generated by thermal power stations.
Acquiring the new technology is expected to help the company meet its targeted output of one billion tonnes by 2020.
The majority of Coal India's three lakh workforce is employed in around 230 underground mines that produced 36Mt of coal from 2013 to 2014.
According to a separate announcement made by The Telegraph, mining companies in Australia are seeking business tie-ups with Coal India, as it is considering increasing production to meet its target of 925Mt by 2020.
Coal India officials said that the company hopes to secure participation of private and foreign companies in various areas of mining.
Image: Coal India uses the bord and pillar method to prevent mines from caving in. Photo: courtesy of worradmu/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.