Coal in India
In India, coal is the primary source of commercial energy.
It is used as fuel in industries, thermal power stations and also for domestic purposes in some parts of the country.
It is also used as a raw material in chemical and fertilizer industries and in the production of thousands of items of daily use.
As per the assessment of January, 2005 the total coal reserves of the country stand at 2, 47,847 million tonnes.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the Indian coal reserves are of rather poor quality.
Coal in India occurs in two important types of coal fields.
They are the Gondwana coal fields and Tertiary coal fields.
Out of the total coal reserves and production in India, Gondwna coal fields contribute 98% and the rest 2% is produced by tertiary coal fields.
The Gondwana coal fields are located in the sedimentary rock systems of lower Gondwana Age.
They are distributed chiefly in the river valleys of the Damodar (Jharkhand – West Bengal); the Son (Madhya Pradesh–Chhattisgarh); the Mahanadi (Orissa), the Godavari (Andhra Pradesh) and the Wardha (Maharashtra).
Tertiary coalfields occur in the extra-peninsular areas which include Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim.
Besides lignite or brown coal are found in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and in land basins of Rajasthan.
Jharkhand ranks highest in production as well as reserves of coal in India.
The coal deposits of Jharkhand mainly occur in Dhanbad, Hazaribagh and Palamau district.
In Dhanbad district the most important coalfields of Jharia and Chandrapura are located.
The oldest coal field of Raniganj is situated in West Bengal. It is the second largest coalfield in India.
Raniganj coalfield stretches over Burdwan and Purulia districts.
In Chhatisgarh, coal deposits occur in Bilaspur and Sarguja districts.
In Madhya Pradesh, coal deposits are found in Sidhi, Shahdol and Chhindwara districts.
Singrauli coalfield in Shadhol and Sidhi districts is the largest in the state.
In Andhra Pradesh, coal occurs in the district of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam and West Godavari.
In Orissa, Talcher is an important coal field.
Other coal field are in Sambalpur and Sundargarh districts.
In Maharashtra the coal fields are found in the districts of Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Nagpur.
In comparison to India’s coal reserves, lignite reserves are relatively modest.
The bulk of lignite reserves are located in and around Neyveli in Tamil Nadu.
Significant lignite reserves are found in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Pondicherry and Jammu & Kashmir.