Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (Tangedco), the electricity provider of the state, will be floating a tender within a fortnight to mine coal from the Chandrabilla coal block, Angul district, Odisha.
The Union government had allocated the Chandrabilla coal block to Tamil Nadu in 2016. However, the project could not take off due to non-clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the forest areas of the coal block.
Senior officials with Tangedco told IANS that the power utility has now decided to mine coal from non-forest areas of Chandrabilla block, hence there will not be any problem in getting clearance from the ministry.
The Tangedco is expected to mine one crore tonne of coal a year from the Chandrabilla coal block, and with three new power plants in Tamil Nadu almost completed, the state requires additional coal for fuelling the same.
According to Tangedco, the there coal-fired thermal projects that are coming up in the state, North Chennai Stage III, Ennore Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and Udangudi were almost complete and coal for these projects is required.
Tamil Nadu Power Minister Senthil Balaji had recently conducted a meeting of officials of Tangedco regarding the Chandrabilla project.
Tangedco officials said that a private consultant was commissioned recently to study the feasibility of the project and the report that was submitted in August first week to the power utility recommended mining of 1 crore tonnes of coal for the next 35 years from the Chandrabilla coal block.
At present, the existing coal-fired thermal power projects in Tamil Nadu including power stations in Mettur, Tuticorin, and North Chennai are consuming 70,000 tonnes of coal per day and the three new thermal power plants that are being commissioned will together consume an additional of 30,000 tonnes of coal per day.
The North Chennai Stage III power plant will be commissioned in December, 2022 and the Ennore SEZ project next year and needs additional coal supply.
Tangedco is also in discussion with the central government regarding the depth to which coal can be mined. While the private consultant in their report suggested mining at 250 feet depth to hit the coal for excavation but generally coal is available at 50 to 100 feet depth.