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article imageCoal India still planning to shut 37 coal mines by end of year

By Karen Graham     Jun 19, 2017 in Business
Coal workers unions at Coal India and Singareni Collieries have postponed a three-day strike that was to have started today after the government agreed there would be no merger of retirement funds. However, Coal India is still closing 37 mines by 2018.
Earlier this month, Coal India announced their plan to close 37 underground coal mines by the end of March 2018, the end of their fiscal year, even though coal unions were threatening a three-day strike.
In late May, the coal workers unions, representing the almost 400,000 employees of Coal India and closely-held Singareni Collieries Ltd, had demanded Coal India withdraw its plans to close the mines, along with a planned merger of the coal miners provident fund with the employee's provident fund, along with several other issues.
Coal India's decision to close the underground mines would affect about 11,000 employees. Their plan is to transfer those workers to open-cast mining operations where more coal is produced and their labor is needed. The underground mines are also operating at a loss and production is down, said one official, according to the Economic Times.
The mines targeted for closure make up approximately 9.0 percent of the total number of mines owned by Coal India. The closings are expected to result in savings for the company of about 800 crores ($124 million). Additionally, increasing competition from renewable energy technologies is adding to the pressure on the profitability of underground mining.
According to Climate Action, Tim Buckley, the Director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), said: "For the first time, solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets are profound."
On Sunday, according to the Economic Times, D.D. Ramanandan, president All India Coal Workers Federation affiliated to CITU said: “Since the government clarified earlier that would be no merger of Provident funds, and salary issues would be resolved in two months, we deferred the strike.”
More about Coal India, miners strike, Postponed, 37 underground mines, Renewables
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