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Coal India Limited (CIL) and BHEL Join Hands for Ammonium Nitrate Plant in Odisha

New Delhi: Public sector giants Coal India Limited (CIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) sealed a significant partnership on Wednesday by signing a joint venture (JV) agreement. The collaboration aims to establish an ammonium nitrate plant utilizing surface coal gasification technology, as announced by the Coal Ministry.

The proposed plant is set to be located in Odisha’s Lakhanpur area, falling under Mahanadi Coalfields Limited. It is anticipated to have an initial production capacity of 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate per day, with an annual production target of 6.60 lakh tonnes, requiring 1.3 million tonnes (mts) of coal, which will be supplied by CIL.

BHEL brings its indigenously developed pressurized fluidized bed gasification (PFBG) technology to the partnership, contributing to the advanced capabilities of the plant. The collaboration is a significant stride towards the National Coal Gasification Mission, focusing on optimizing the chemical properties of coal, as emphasized by the Coal Ministry.

Ammonium nitrate holds substantial importance in the production of bulk explosives, a key component extensively used in CIL’s open-cast mining operations, a primary source of coal production for the company.

The strategic backward integration planned for the upcoming plant is expected to enhance the security of raw material supply, reduce dependence on ammonium nitrate imports, and align with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self-reliant India Campaign).

Coal Secretary Amrit Lal Meena commended the commitment of both CIL and BHEL, expressing confidence that the project would serve as a role model. He highlighted the significance of gasification as a top priority for the Ministry of Coal, with ample coal availability anticipated in the coming years.

Debasish Nanda, Director (Business Development) at CIL, and Jai Prakash Srivastava, Director (Engineering, R&D) at BHEL, represented their respective companies by signing the joint venture agreement. CIL’s commitment to exploring alternative uses of coal for eco-friendly initiatives, such as coal gasification, was also emphasized, with an eye on the implementation of promising technologies like Syn Gas Conversion.

Projects and Development India Limited, a Mini Ratna design engineering and consultancy company, has been assigned the task of preparing a detailed feasibility report for the plant. The acquisition of land is underway, with a completion target set for September 2024, followed by the commencement of construction activities.

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