Coal India to raise output by 6 pct in 2013/14 - chairman

KOLKATA Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:04am IST

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KOLKATA Jan 28 (Reuters) - Coal India Ltd, the world's largest coal miner, has finalised a production target of 492 million tonnes for the fiscal year that starts on April 1, about 6 percent higher than the current year's expected production.

The target was finalised in a meeting last week with officials from India's planning commission, Coal India Chairman S Narsing Rao told Reuters.

The state-controlled miner, which produces about 80 percent of India's coal, is under pressure from the government and power producers to ease fuel shortages at home but has struggled for years to raise output due to problems in obtaining environmental and regulatory approval.

Output levels have remained nearly flat for the past two years and it missed its production target last year.

The company is aiming to supply 464 million tonnes of coal this fiscal year ending March, an increase of about 7 percent. The company is fairly close to achieving this target, but performance in the last two months would hold the key, Rao said.

"It is still a tight situation, but the next 66 days can tilt the scales," he said.

So far this year, Coal India has produced 20 million tonnes more compared to the same period last year, but now needs to push up production by another 9 million tones in the remaining period.

India produced 240.32 million tonnes of coal in the first half of the current fiscal year, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier, figures provided by a government official showed. (Reporting by Prashant Mehra; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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