In recent years, Indian coal mines have suffered from several flood water inundations affecting production and causing considerable harm to water quality. The inundations are the result of the proximity of many of the major open cast mines to major rivers. While major mines can and are regularly pumped clear of what, the major two responses – building a retaining wall, or diverting river courses – are both costly, and not effective against massive flooding.
Just over a year ago, there was a major inundation at the Ghonsa mine in Maharashtra, of which little details are known. The inundation was captured on video by a bystander.
On 29 September 2019, Ashish Kumar posted a video of the following inundation at the Dipka coalmine on the Korba coalfield in Chhattisgarh, province, India. The Dipka Mine has annual production 35 million tons per annum according to the Mining Journal, and is so significant a source of coal that coal-powered power stations have even been built in the vicinity of the mine.
The mine is owned by Coal India, and operated by South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. In addition to the inundation at the Dipka mine, output also suffered at the Gevra and Rajmahal mines according to The Hindu newspaper. Dipka is considered one of the top three mines in India by production levels, and plays a significant role in meeting the country’s energy needs.
A twitter user showed the same scene from a different angle which clearly demonstrated that the operators had been unable to clear all of the haul trucks and heavy equipment out of the way of the inundation.
Insane footage of the Lilanagar river changing course and flowing into Dipka, one of @secl_cil’s biggest pit mines, cleared to extract 35 million tonnes of coal each year. Nature has its own plans. Video via @alokshuklacg. pic.twitter.com/Y3cR2qeTrD
— Aruna Chandrasekhar (@aruna_sekhar) September 30, 2019
Indian website, Patrika is reporting that while plant was lost, that all workers were able to get out of the way of the inundation.
Discussing the significance for Indian electricity supply, the Mining Journal said the following:
“An ongoing supply shortage from Coal India, and the fact coal generates nearly 75% of India’s electricity means that coal imports are likely to increase,” said John Meyer, research analyst at SP Angel. “This comes at time when coal imports by Indian power plans are growing at the fastest rate in five years.”
Coal is currently trading at below USD 70 per metric ton, its lowest level since 2016. It comes as financing for coal projects globally has shrunk, and many governments have announced their intention to move away from coal production.
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