The Rs.86-crore underground coal mining project at Adriyala near Ramagundam by Singareni Collieries Company Ltd., may well turn the focus back from open cast to underground coal mining, J.S. Sibal, Director General, Mines Safety, said here on Saturday.

Speaking at the national seminar on Underground Coal Mining organised by the Directorate General of Mines Safety and the Singareni, Mr. Sibal appreciated the SCCL for taking the lead in adopting latest technology and suitable mining machinery to scale up productivity manifold.

Of the 550 million tonne coal production in the country during 2009-10, the share of opencast production was about 88 p.c. and underground production was mere 12 p.c. Opencast mining though did not require high initial investment, resulted in high social and environmental cost and displacement of people and become unviable.

SCCL MD S.Narsinga Rao said SCCL was investing Rs.864 crore to attain 3.5 million tonne production by adopting latest technology. In India the highest production recorded in a single mine was 7.5 lakh tonnes but the new underground mine to become operational by 2011-end would produce five times more, he said.

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