"The tenders for three to four mines have already been floated. Remaining tenders in the pipeline are likely to be floated in another two months," Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) chairman and managing director Tapas Kumar Lahiry told PTI.
The mines, all situated in Dhandand, include Putki Balihari, Kapuria, Madhuban, Moonidih (15 seam and 16 seam), Amlabad and Sumandi and have a cumulative annual production capacity of almost seven million tonnes, Lahiry said.
The CMD also expressed hope that production from these mines will start after three to four years.
He, however, refused to specify the total cost involved in opening the seven mines. "The total cost that would be involved in the mines would be difficult to say," he said.
With land acquisitions norms getting tougher, BCCL has shifted its strategy and is focusing more on underground mines. "Acquisition of land is becoming difficult," he said.
The CMD is of a view that underground mining of coal has an edge over opencast exploitation, as it is not only environment-friendly, but the quality of extracted coal is also of better quality.
"As the coal from the underground mine is at par with the coal imported it fetches better price," he said.
Currently, BCCL operates 70 underground mines. As of 2009-10, the total production capacity of the coal firm is 27.51 million tonnes, with annual underground coal production of 3.9 million tonnes and open cast output of 23.61 million tonnes.