To improve utilisation of heavy earthmoving equipment

In a bid to benchmark itself against global best practices and also to ramp up productivity, Coal India Ltd (CIL) has decided to harness latest satellite-based technology for improving the utilisation of heavy earthmoving equipment at its opencast mines which now account for over 80 per cent of CIL's total production.

The CIL board has approved an expenditure of Rs. 163 crore in 2010-11 for bringing in operator-independent truck despatch system (OITDS) at 11 mines. Following a global tender that was floated last year for selecting a company which will run this system on a turnkey basis, Wipro and Lica of the U.S. have emerged as the front-runners. “The technology is not abundantly available and harnessing it puts CIL in the league of international miners,” a senior official said.

The OITDS, which draws on global positioning system (GPS) and satellite technology, will allow critical equipment used in opencast mines like dumpers and shovels to be utilised better, so that there is little idling, thus improving productivity of the machinery and operational discipline. This will help reduce costs and improve production eventually, an official said. CIL has 473 working mines of which 163 are opencast.

At the same meeting held in New Delhi, the CIL board okayed procurement of machinery to the tune of Rs. 1,320 crore, including Rs. 1,250 crore on explosives. The initial public offer of CIL slated for August was also approved at this meeting.