Coal India surpasses annual output target for first time in 17 years

By Sudarshan Varadhan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Coal India Ltd said on Friday it had breached its annual production target of 700 million tonnes, the first time it had surpassed its goal since the fiscal year that ended in March 2006.

The world’s largest coal mining company will likely end the fiscal year ending on Friday with an output of 703.4 million tonnes, it said, 13% higher than the 622.6 million tonnes it produced the previous fiscal year.

“The volume increase of a whopping 81 million tonnes in a single year, by fiscal year 2023 end, would be a historic high since the company’s inception,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

Coal India last achieved its annual production target in 2006, when it produced 343.4 million tonnes against a plan to produce 343 million tonnes.

The miner, which accounts for 80% of India’s annual coal output, is targeting production of 780 million tonnes in the upcoming fiscal year, in a bid to fire its power utilities, which are expected to burn about 8% more coal in the year.

India’s coal-fired power output has increased much faster than any other country in the Asia Pacific since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, underscoring the challenges the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter faces in weaning its economy off carbon.

The government has previously cited lower per capita emissions compared with richer nations and surging renewable energy output, when asked about rising coal use.

Coal accounts for nearly 75% of India’s power generation and utilities account for more than 75% of its coal use. India is the world’s second largest producer, consumer and importer of the fuel.

Coal India intends to ramp up production to 1 billion tonnes by March 2026 by increasing the capacity of its existing mines and opening new mines.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Robert Birsel)