The value of coal as a fuel or power resource cannot be overestimated. It is reckoned as one of the most important indigenous energy resources and a dominant fuel for power generation in India. Mohit Aggarwal, the Chief Managing director of Aastha Minmet India Pvt ltd believes that the country’s energy future is majorly dependent on coal mining. It is likely to play a major role in India’s economic expansion.
As a matter of fact, coal is a major contributor to India’s industrial sector. It is an important element in the power, iron & steel sector and is used by alumina refineries, paper manufacturers, chemical and pharmaceutical industries as well. Coal mining is a major economic activity which contributes significantly to the economy of India. Apart from providing energy sources to the nation, it also creates long-term jobs that benefit an economy in the long run.
Aastha Minmet India Pvt ltd highlights that the Indian mining industry provides job opportunities to around 700,000 individuals. It contributes around 10% to 11% to the GDP of the total industrial sector. Even the mining done on a smaller scale contributes 6% to the entire cost of mineral production.
As per the economic impact studies from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a coal mine with 300 employees, such as the Carlisle Mine, indirectly creates an additional 3.88 times the amount of jobs it provides in the region.
Mohit Aggarwal, of Aastha Group states that India has witnessed a significant increase in its coal imports from 43.08 million metric tons in 2006-07 to 199.88 million metric tons in 2015-16. The exports further rose from 1.55 million metric tons in 2006-07 to 2.45 million metric tons in 2009-10, but subsequently declined to 1.25 million metric tons in 2015-16.
At present, the country has abundant domestic reserves of coal and ranks at 4th position in world coal production. Jharkhand leads in coal production and coal reserves in the country, with Orissa and Madhya Pradesh at the second and third position respectively. India also exports a substantial quantity of coal to the countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Hongkong and Malayasia. It boasts of being Australia’s fourth-largest coal export market.
A number of studies have highlighted that coal will continue to be the principal fuel for energy production for majority of the Asian countries. Thus, it is no exaggeration that coal is regarded as the black diamond by many.