Exploration of Coal and Lignite scheme

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Recently, the union government of India approved the continuation of the central sector plan 'Exploration of Coal and Lignite scheme' with an estimated expenditure of ₹2,980 crore.

About Exploration of Coal and Lignite Scheme:

  • The period for the extension is from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • Under this scheme, exploration for coal and lignite is conducted in two broad stages: (i) Promotional (Regional) Exploration and (ii) Detailed Exploration in non-Coal India Limited blocks.
  • Benefits of the scheme
    • This scheme is required to prove and estimate coal resources available in the country, which helps in preparing detailed project reports to start coal mining. 
    • The geological reports prepared through these explorations are used for auctioning new coal blocks, and the cost is thereafter recovered from successful allocatee.

What are the types of Coal?

  • Anthracite: It contains the highest amount of carbon out of all coal ranks (86%-97%) and it is used mostly in industrial settings and the metals industry due to its high heat value.
  • Lignite: it is lighter in colour than the higher ranks of coal. It has the lowest carbon content out of all the coal ranks (25%-35%) and it has a high moisture content and crumbly texture. 
  • Bituminous: It has slightly lower carbon content than anthracite (45%-86%)1. The wide range of carbon content in bituminous coal warrants uses for both electricity and steel production. 
  • Peat: It is the starting stage of a coal formation which has low calorific value and low carbon content.


Q1) What is Coal?

Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock that is primarily composed of carbon along with various other elements such as hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. It is formed from the remains of plants that lived and died millions of years ago in swampy environments.

Source: Cabinet approves ₹2,980 crores for Exploration of Coal and Lignite scheme