The state-run Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (GMDC) — the largest seller of lignite in the country — has seen a 24 per cent decline in production of lignite during 2019-20, especially after it closed one of its biggest mine at Panandhro in Kutch.
In the annual report tabled in the Gujarat Assembly during the recently concluded Budget session, the company stated that its lignite production has fallen to 69.56 lakh metric tonne from the 91.90 lakh metric tonne in 2018-19.
The company also stated that it is left with five lignite mines after it closed the Panandhro mine.
“Panandhro was the biggest of the lignite mines. We had to close it after reserves exhausted. The quality of lignite from this mine was good,” Arun Solanki, managing director of GMDC told The Indian Express.
In 2018-19, the lignite production from Panandhro was 7.08 lakh metric tonne. The opencast mine in Kutch had commenced production way back in 1973-74 and used to power the Akrimota Thermal Power station of GMDC and the Kutch lignite thermal power station of GSECL. Currently, GMDC has lignite mines at Mara-no-Madh (which is the biggest producer of the mineral), Rajpardi, Tadkeshwar, Bhavnagar and Umarsar.
Despite the closure of Panandhro, lignite mining continues to be main activity of the company and sales from lignite occupy a lion’s share of the company’s turnover. Though GMDC clocked a 46 percent increase in profit after tax for 2019-20, the turnover of the company fell by 19 percent to Rs 1520 crore.
During 2019-20, the production of bauxite rose to 4.50 lakh metric tonne from 4.36 lakh metric tonne a year ago. The power division of GMDC which consists of Akrimota Thermal Power plant, wind power plants (200 MW) and solar power plant (5 MW), produced 1165 million units of electricity during this period.