GMI Explores New Opportunities for Coal Mine Methane in India

Did you hear the big news in India? In November 2015, India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas decreed that Coal India Limited and its subsidiaries will be allowed to explore coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the mining leases they possess. Until now, Coal India was only allowed to mine coal from its owned or leased mines, but can now also capture natural gas to use as energy from coal seams of these mines. Given GMI’s longstanding relationship with India’s Central Mine Planning and Design Institute’s (CMPDI) India CMM/CBM Clearinghouse, Coal Subcommittee Co-Chair Felicia Ruiz set out to Ranchi to explore opportunities.

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Pre-feasibility study presentation from the Clearinghouse visit in Ranchi. Left to right: Mr. Jayesh Chandra Rai, Chinakuri Mines, ECL; Mr. Rajiw Lochan, CMPDI; Mr. B.N. Prasad CMPDI; Mr. Bhola Nath Shukla, CMPDI; Ms. Felicia Ruiz, U.S. EPA.

Ms. Ruiz met with mine managers from the Chinakuri Colliery, Sodepur Area, West Bengal State, Burdwan District, India and ECL (Eastern Coalfields Limited, subsidiary of Coal India) to provide them with preliminary findings of a GMI-sponsored coal mine methane (CMM) drainage and utilization pre-feasibility study currently underway. The study focused on the Chinakuri Colliery Mine No. 1, which is considered to be a Degree III gassy mine, the highest category for methane emissions in India. Methane emissions from virgin areas such as Sodepur are projected to be very high, which will impact mine safety, productivity, and ventilation requirements. To help mitigate the projected high methane emission levels, Coal India and Eastern Coalfields have expressed an interest in pursuing a methane pre-drainage program, in advance of mining.

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Wrapping up the meeting. Foreground: Ms. Ruiz and Mr. Shukla. Background: Mr. Lochan.

Given the positive results of the GMI-sponsored pre-feasibility study, CMPDI and Coal India indicated their serious intent to develop a commercial CMM project in the near term. The GMI team looks forward to working with our partners at CMPDI on this and other future CMM capture and use projects.

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