Coal India (CIL) has commenced production at its Amrapali coal mine in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand to meet the growing demand from power plants.
Located in Chatra district, the mine is CIL's first major new project in the last five years and it is expected to produce approximately 12 million tonnes (Mt) of coal a year.
The lack of a railway network and land acquisition hurdles have forced the company's subsidiary, Central Coalfields, to delay production at the open cast pit by nearly ten years.
Central Coalfields chairman Gopal Singh was quoted by the Pioneer as saying: "Amrapali open cast project is an important and prestigious coal project of CCL through which coal production of CCL will certainly increase enabling to fulfil the requirement of coal to power sector."
The mine is expected to produce three million tonnes of coal this year, allowing Central Coalfields to increase its production by 10% to 55Mt.
The coal produced from the mine will be transported through Tori-Shivpur railway line, which is yet to be completed.
The mine is likely to reach its full production capacity in two years when it will be connected to the rail network, according to Singh.
The Amrapali mine has an estimated coal reserve of 291.1Mt and a mine life of 30 years.
India's coal production in the fiscal year ended 31 March was 566Mt, which is less than the target of 715Mt to 720Mt.