Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL), Singrauli is a major contributor towards fulfilling energy requirement of the nation. NCL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coal India Limited, under the Ministry of Coal, Government of India and Mini Ratna (Category-I) company since 2007.
NCL operates primarily with the objective of producing coal with due regard to social up-liftment, sustainable development and environmental up gradation. It is an ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018certified company.Organization’s main products include non-coking coal in the range of grades G5 to G13 besides ‘De-shale Coal’ and the ‘Coal Rejects’. About 86% of the coal produced is dispatched to Power Sector. NCL has share of about 15% in nation’s total coal production i.e. a contribution of about 10% in total power generation.
NCL was formed in November, 1985 encompassing Singrauli Coalfield, carved out of Central Coalfields Ltd., with its Headquarter at Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh.The area of Singrauli Coalfield is about 2202 sq.km. The Coalfield can be divided into two basins, viz. Moher sub-basin (312 sq.km) and Singrauli Main basin (1890 sq.km). NCL has total coal reserve of 10.06 Billion Tonnes (BT) (6.83 BT in Moher Sub-basin and 3.23 BT in Main Basin). Major part of the Moher sub-basin lies in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh and a small part lies in the Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh. All the coal mining operations of NCL are at present concentrated in Moher Sub-basin through 10 numbers of opencast mines.Singrauli main basin lies in the western part of the coalfield and is largely unexplored.
In NCL, there are 10 numbers of opencast mines where coal (sub-bituminous coal, i.e. non-coking coal in the range of grades G5 to G-13) is being exploited by (i) Shovel-Dumper combination and (ii) Surface Miner. Currently NCL has a fleet of 1239 equipments for production.
NCL has produced 115.04 Million Tonnes (MT) coal i.e. 101.80% of the target in FY 2020-21 with 6.50% growth over last year. It was for the 3rd consecutive year, when NCL surpassed 100 MT milestone. NCL is one among the 3 subsidiaries of CIL to cross 100 MT in FY 2020-21. NCL dispatched 108.67 MT coal i.e. 96.20% of the target in FY 2020-21with 1.20% growth over last year. The target for coal production and offtake in 2021-22is 119.0 MT and 126.50 MT, respectively. The coal supplies from NCL has made it possible to produce about 10515 MW of electricity from pithead power plants having power generation capacity of 13295 MW. In addition, NCL is also supplying coal to up-country power plants of different states of the nation.
In NCL, coal and overburden are mined by following methods of opencast mining:
(i) Shovel Dumper System- It is used for coal production and over burden removal.
(ii) Dragline System- It is used for overburden removal.
(iii) Surface Miner-It is used for mining sized coal (-100 mm size) through blast free mining.
Since inception, NCL has adopted modernization of its equipment and other infrastructure. The equipment population in NCL is as given below:
Other Auxiliary Equipment
NCL uses state of art mining technology for coal and OB production. Major steps taken by NCL for modernization of its infrastructure are as follows:
· Shovel-Dumper System: NCL has high capacity (e.g. 20 CuM) Electric Rope Shovels and Electric Dumpers (e.g. 120 Tonne, 170 Tonne, 190 Tonne, and 205 Tonne).
· Dragline System: NCL has one of the world’s best over burden removal system. It has 23 numbers of Draglines. Coal India’s biggest Dragline, Somnath (33/72) having bucket size of 33 CuM is also in NCL.
· Surface Miner System: In NCL, there are 8 Surface Miners deployed for coal production. Surface Miner Mining is a complete blast free eco-friendly mining and does not require conventional drilling and blasting operations.
· Development of IT infrastructure: In NCL, modern survey equipments like Total Stations and 3-D Laser Scanner are used for mine surveying along with SURPAC software. OITDS (Operator Independent Truck Despatch System) is being successfully used in 5 of its mega Projects. Beside these, GPS based vehicle tracking system for coal transportation along with RFID system, boom barrier, CCTV camera for snapshot and integration with existing weighbridge system are being executed. A comprehensive CCTV surveillance system is also being executed. COALNET, an ERP package, Online File Tracking system, Online Bill Tracking system and e-office are already in operation. NCL is the leading mining company of the nation having simulators for training of Dragline, Dumper and Dozer operators.
· Workshops: NCL is equipped with Central Workshop (CWS) along with Base workshops in each of its mine as well as Condition Monitoring Cell (CMC) for ensuring reliability of HEMMs.
· Advanced Blasting System: In NCL, electronic detonator system is being used for controlled blasting in all major opencast mines to ensure proper fragmentation and minimum ground vibration, especially near villages and townships.
· Quality: NCL has 5 numbers of NABL accredited laboratories having highly sophisticated laboratory equipment and other facilities related to coal sample collection, preparation, testing and analysis. Automatic Mechanical Samplers (AMS) are installed in different Silos of Coal Handling Plants (CHPs) of NCL to fasten as well as to ensure precision in coal sample collection process.
· Survey and Surveillance: Electronic Total Station (ETS) and 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) are being used in NCL for survey purpose. Continuous efforts are being made for ensuring safety in mine operations through adoption and development of new technologies like Slope Stability Radar, drone based surveillance and survey in mines of NCL.
· Advanced Communication System: The existing optical fiber cable network in NCL is laid between HQ/Projects/ Units for voice and data communication. IP based radio network has been established between HQ and Projects/ Unit as an alternate media for voice and data communication with minimum bandwidth of 50 Mbps uplink and downlink per site. This IP Based radio connectivity automatically takes over during the failure of optical fiber cable. NCL has also established alternate connectivity through optical fiber cable between HQ and Projects/Units and Projects to all weighbridges through optical fiber cable and radio backup link. Video Conferencing System has also been installed in NCL-HQ and Projects/Units for effective communication between the HQ and Projects/Units.
· SARAS (R&D Centre of NCL): Being a major contributor to the energy requirement of the nation, NCL, Singrauli has recognized the potential of coal production through socially sustainable inclusive development. To meet the increasing demand of coal in a sustainable manner, NCL is fully aligned to the needs of adapting to advanced mining technologies and continuously upgrading itself through research and development. In view of the importance of R&D centre and the paradigm shift it can make, NCL has established a R&D centre i.e. Science & Applied Research Alliance and Support (SARAS) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi. SARAS, setup in 2018, is the outcome of vision and mission of NCL. NCL has come up with a unique strategy under which following 3 wings of SARAS are being developed in parallel mode:
a) Integrated Laboratory Facility (Development of Technology on Lab scale): It is the main R&D wing of SARAS which comprised of technical laboratories. The main purpose of this wing is to facilitate fundamental research and scientific works.
b) Technology Centre (Technology Demonstration): In order to provide a central facility of testing, fabrication and training, a state of art Technology Centre is being developed by NCL and Indo-German Tool Room, Indore.
Incubation Centre (Commercialization of Technology): This wing of SARAS comprises of various startup companies selected through different Govt Programmes on pan India basis as well as Innovation groups/societies of the students of IIT (BHU). The main purpose of this wing is to involve young and creative minds in developing the end solutions/scale up facilities for the R&D/scientific works in the field of mining and its allied activities.