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Abstract

The paper discusses the current situation as well as the perspectives for hard coal extraction in India, a global leader both in terms of hard coal output and import volumes. Despite this, over 300 million people lack access to electricity in this country. The main energy resource of India is hard coal and Coal India Limited (CI L) is the world’s biggest company dealing with hard coal extraction. CI L has over 450 mines, employs over 400,000 people, and extracts ca. 430 million tons of hard coal from its 471 mining facilities. India is planning the decisive development of hard coal mining to extract 1.5 billion tons in 2020. Hard coal output in India can be limited due to the occurrence of various threats, including the methane threat. The biggest methane threat occurs in the mines in the Jharia basin, located in East India (the Jharkhand province), where coal methane content is up to ca. 18 m3/Mg. Obtaining methane from coal seams is becoming a necessity. The paper provides guidelines for the classification of particular levels of the methane threat in Indian’s mines. The results of methane sorption tests, carried by the use of the microgravimetric method on coal from the Moonidih mine were presented. Sorption capacities and the diffusion coefficient of methane on coal were determined. The next step was to determine the possibility of degassing the seam, using numerical methods based on the value of coal diffusion coefficient based on Crank’s diffusion model solution. The aim of this study was the evaluation of coal seam demethanization possibilities. The low diffusivity of coal, combined with a minor network of natural cracks in the seam, seems to preclude foregoing demethanization carried out by means of coal seam drilling, without prior slotting.
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