By Sudarshan Varadhan
CHENNAI (Reuters) – Coal India Ltd’s output and sales grew by nearly a third during September from a year earlier, the company said on Thursday, as coal-fired power generation picked up and demand from smelters and other consumers increased.
State-run Coal India accounts for over 80% of the country’s production and is the world’s largest coal miner by output.
Its output rose 32% to 40.51 million tonnes in September, the company said in a stock exchange filing. Offtake, or sales to customers, rose 31.5% to 46.46 million tonnes last month.
The growth in output and sales were the highest in at least six years, according to data available on the company’s website, but were also due to declines in September last year.
Supplies to the non-power sector jumped 65% to 10.04 million tonnes, while coal despatched to the power sector rose 24.7% to 36.42 million tonnes, Coal India said.
The company, which wants to produce 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2023/24, saw its annual production fall during the year ended March 2020, the first annual decline in over two decades.
“We expect to better our performance in the ensuing months. We aim to reclaim as much of the lost ground,” the miner said on Thursday.
The fast growth rate was also due to a steep fall in production in September last year due to high rainfall in coal-bearing areas, with production and offtake falling over 20% each in September 2019.
India used nearly a billion tonnes of coal in 2019/20, about three quarters of it at power plants.
Provisional government data on Thursday showed coal-fired electricity generation rose 9.9% in September, as India removed nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions.
However, analysts expect power usage during the current financial year to fall for the first time in decades.
(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Susan Fenton)