September 7, 2018 / 10:20 AM / 14 days ago

Pollution regulator issues environmental notices to Coal India

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The pollution regulator for the eastern Indian state of Odisha issued notices to Coal India mines with combined annual capacity of 20 million tonnes over environmental failings, according to a document seen by Reuters on Friday.

The notices, issued in July and August to 2 mines, said that inspections found that the sludge treatment plant in one of the mines was defunct and that the water sprinkling systems to keep dust under control were inadequate, among other things.

The Odisha state pollution control board also said that a coal fire was observed in one of the mines and that firefighting measures were inadequate.

“If the cause shown in the reply is found not to be satisfactory, appropriate action shall be initiated without any further notice,” the state pollution control board, Odisha said in the notice to Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, a Coal India unit.

Shares of Coal India dipped on the news, before recovering to close 1 percent up at 286.55 rupees ($4).

Coal India said the issues had either been rectified or were in the process of being rectified.

The notices were issued to the Samleswari and Lajkura open-cast mines in the district of Jharsuguda.

A company spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the operational status of the mines.

However, an operations official at the 15 million ton Samleswari mine said a hearing with the pollution regulator is due to take place in 15 days and that the mine’s management is confident that it would be able to satisfy environmental requirements.

State-run power plants in Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, as well as companies such as Vedanta and Bhushan Steel, are among the mine’s main customers, the official said.

($1 = 71.6700 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Tom Hogue and Elaine Hardcastle

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