Meghalaya refuses to renew mining lease to Coal India


New Delhi : Meghalaya has refused to renew a mining lease to the Coal India Limited, leaving the government-run mining enterprise without any work in the state, the coal ministry said Tuesday.

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“In Meghalaya, the only lease held by North Eastern Coalfields Limited (NEC) NEC, a CIL subsidiary, pertained to Simsang mines. But it expired in 2008 and its renewal is yet to be received from the State of Meghalaya,” said the ministry in a statement.

“In the absence of renewal of lease, at present no more mines has been planned to be opened by NEC, CIL,” the statement added.

“In Meghalaya, coal is being produced only by the local people as per the extant customary and tribal land rights,” it said.

The ministry made the revelation of Meghalaya’s refusal to renew its mining lease to CIL in a statement on total coal resources in the northeast region.

The statement said “as per Geological Survey of India’s latest inventory of the geological resources of coal in the country, 1,471 million tonnes of geological resources of coal have so far been estimated in the northeast region.”

“Of this, 388 million tonnes are in Assam and 576 milliion tonnes in Meghalaya,” the statement said, adding: “In Assam three opencast mines – Tirap, Tikak and Ledo are in operation under NEC.”

Five more new open cast mines, including those in Lekhapani, Tikak Extension, Tipong, PQ Block and Lachitkhani are proposed to be opened,” the statement added.