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The Talaipalli coal mine is a combined open-pit and underground coal mining project being developed in the Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh, India. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), an Indian public sector undertaking, the developer of the project.

India’s Ministry of Mine allocated the Taliapalli coal block to NTPC to develop a captive coal mine for its nearby Lara super thermal power plant in 2015.

The total investment on the Talaipalli coal mine project is estimated to be approximately £329m (Rs31.4bn).

The project is expected to produce up to 18.72 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of coal over an estimated mine life of 52 years.

Although NTPC awarded a mine development and operations contract to a consortium of NCC and BGR Mining in November 2017, it was terminated later in July 2019 due to corruption allegations against the contractor, leading to a delay in the development of the project.

A new mining contract was awarded to Thriveni Earthmovers in September 2020.

Project location and geology

The Talaipalli coal mine is located in the Mand-Raigarh Coalfield, near the Talaipalli village in the Gahrghoda block in the Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh, India. Situated approximately 55km away from the Raigarh town, the Talaipalli coal mine project area covers approximately 21.13km2.

The Talaipalli coal block is located in the eastern part of the Mand-Raigarh Coalfield. It is predominantly based on the Barakar coal-bearing sedimentary formation, while the southern part of the block is characterised by the Barren measure coal formations.

Coal reserves at Talaipalli

Total estimated mineable reserves within the block are estimated to be approximately 843.68 million tonnes (Mt) while the corresponding total overburden is estimated to be approximately 3,777 million cubic meters with an overall stripping ratio of 4.48m3/t.

The coal grade present at Talaipalli block is E-G with up to 52% ash content.

Mining operations at Talaipalli

Partial mining operations at the Talaipalli started in October 2019 which produced only 0.25Mt of coal as of July 2020.

The Taliaipalli coal mine will feature open-cut mining, which will be followed by the start of underground mining after 20 years of operations. The open-cut operation is estimated to have an output capacity of 18Mtpa while the underground operations will produce approximately 0.72Mtpa. NTPC will manage the operations through contract mining for a period of 25 years.

The Talaipalli coal block has a total of 21 identified coal seams out of which the lowest four seams will be mined using underground mining methods. The underground mine will have a parting block measuring between 31m and 51m and will from the base of the open-pit with a maximum working depth of up to 404m below ground level.

The open-pit mining operations will be carried out using blast, shovel, and dumper methods. A total estimated 264.52Mm3 of overburden to be produced during the initial five years of open-pit mining will be stockpiled for backfilling the mine.

Associated infrastructure

The run-of-the-mine (ROM) coal will be crushed and washed in a coal handling plant located in the project area.

The washed coal will be transported by road to the Lara super thermal power plant located approximately 60km away from the mine site.

The Talaipalli coal mine is estimated to require 2390m3/d of water which will be diverted from the River Kelo that runs just 60m away from the eastern boundary of the mining block.

Potable water requirement will be met through onsite groundwater wells.

Contractors involved

Thriveni Earthmovers, an Indian mining contractor based in Tamil Nadu, was awarded a contract worth £329m (Rs31.4bn) for the development and operations of the Talaipalli coal mine in September 2020.