No limits: India’s new ruling will allow for unrestricted commercial coal mining for new entrants, who won’t even need prior experience in coal mining | Photo: Business Today

India removes end-use restriction on coal mining, allocates $794 million for gas grid

The Indian government has done away with captive end-use restrictions on coal mining to open up the sector to even more players and dig out more of the fuel. This will allow all new entrants (except for the steel and power sectors) to sell coal commercially. The new ruling will also support Coal India’s bid to boost its annual output to a billion tonnes by 2023-24. 

The Centre will also extend Rs5,559 crore (~$794 million), or 60% of the project cost, to the North East Gas Grid. The finance will be extended as VGF (Viability Gap Funding) — which implies that the government will shoulder a part of the cost, the rest of which will come from the PSUs involved, and the grid will connect the eight north-eastern states to the rest of the country. 

Bangladesh asks Australia to fuel 29 new coal plants

Bangladesh has asked the Australian government to consider supplying it with 80 million tonnes of coal over the next five years to fuel its 29 new coal plants. The plants are still in the proposal stage but could also source coal from South Africa and Indonesia. Yet, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable to climate impacts and could lose up to 11% of its land area to rising sea levels — which could also displace nearly 15 million of its residents. 

Siemens to support Carmichael mine despite protests 

Germany’s Siemens has decided to continue supporting the Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine in Australia despite climate campaigners staging a “die-in” protests at its headquarters in Germany. The firm will provide rail infrastructure to the mine under an $18 million contract, but has been chastised over the climate impact of coal — especially following Australia’s hellish wildfires last month. 

However, Siemens will now constitute a Sustainability Board to “better manage environmental care” in the future.