Binani Cement to invest Rs52 million in coal blocks

The company has submitted a fresh requirement for coal blocks to the government, but is still undecided over the Chhattisgarh block

Binani Cement Ltd plans to invest around Rs52 million in coal blocks. However, the company has still has no plans for its existing coal block in Chhattisgarh.

Cement companies are allotted coal blocks by the Central government for captive industrial use. Binani Cement Ltd was also allotted one such coal block in Bisrampur, Chhattisgarh in 2008.

Commenting on the status of this block, Vinod Juneja, managing director, Binani Group of Industries said, “We have asked the government to give us some more time, we are still thinking of what to do with this particular block.”

A press release from Binani stated that if the government develops infrastructure, Binani would invest Rs52 million in coal blocks.

“These (proposed projects) would be coal blocks in India,” said Mr Juneja. On the timeline for these proposed investments, Mr Juneja said that his company would like them to happen in the “fastest possible” time.

The company has also submitted a fresh requirement for coal blocks to the Central government. The number of coal blocks required has been decided depending on the need for the next thirty years.

The cement industry, with a current capacity of 198.3 million tonnes of cement, uses around 12 million tonnes of coal—accounting for 30% of the total cost of cement production.

However, coal blocks allotted by the government in the recent past have been marred by their own share of controversies. Moneylife had earlier reported that mining activities have not started in the block allotted to GMR Energy in January 2008 due to hurdles in environmental clearances. However, the GMR group does not expect this to affect its ongoing Orissa power project.

Similarly, Adani Power Ltd was denied environmental clearance for two coal blocks in Lohara, Maharashtra. The coal block was expected to fuel Adani’s power project at Gondia (Maharashtra), expected to commence operations by 2011. In fact, Mr Juneja admitted that Binani was still “working out” the environmental and forest clearances required for its allotted block at Chhattisgarh.

Other cement companies who were allotted coal blocks in 2008 and 2009 are Birla Corporation, Revathy Cement, JK Cement, Dalmia Cement and Ambuja Cement.

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