Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Distribution of Coal in India

Coal is a black or brownish-black sedimentary rock composed primarily of carbon along with various other elements, such as sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. In this article, we will discuss about the Distribution of Coal in India. 

Distribution of Coal in India

Types of Coal

Coal is formed from the remains of ancient plants and is classified into four main types based on its carbon content, energy value, and properties:

  1. Anthracite: This is the highest grade of coal, with a carbon content of over 80%. It is hard, glossy, and has a high energy content. It is typically used for heating homes and producing electricity. It is not found in India in significant quantities however, some deposits are available in Jammu and Kashmir. Anthracite coal is primarily used for industrial purposes, including steel production and manufacturing of electrodes for electric arc furnaces. However, due to the lack of domestic production of anthracite coal, the Indian steel industry mainly relies on the import of this coal from other countries.
  2. Bituminous: This is the most commonly used type of coal, with a carbon content ranging from 60% to 80%. It is relatively soft and black, and is used for generating electricity and as a fuel in industrial processes.
  3. Lignite: This type of coal has a carbon content of between 45% and 60%, and is usually brown or black in color. It has a lower energy content than bituminous coal and is primarily used for generating electricity. India has significant reserves of lignite coal, primarily located in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Assam, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. The largest lignite coal reserves in India are located in Neyveli in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) is a government-owned company that operates lignite mines in the region and produces around 30 million tonnes of lignite coal annually. Other major lignite coal mines in India include Tadkeshwar and Bhavnagar in Gujarat and Barsingsar in Rajasthan.
  4. Peat: It has the lowest energy content and burns like a wood only.

Physical Distribution of coal in India

Coal is widely distributed in India and is found in almost all states. However, the major coal producing states in India are Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. Together, these states account for over 90% of the country’s coal production.

The coalfields in India are broadly classified into two types: Gondwana coalfields and Tertiary coalfields. The Gondwana coalfields are located in eastern and central India, while the Tertiary coalfields are located in the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh. Distribution of Coal in India:

Gondwana Coalfields

  1. Jharia Coalfield in Jharkhand
  2. Raniganj Coalfield in West Bengal
  3. Singrauli Coalfield in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh
  4. Talcher Coalfield in Odisha
  5. Korba Coalfield in Chhattisgarh

Tertiary Coalfields

  1. NLC Tamil Nadu

The physical distribution of coal in India has a significant impact on the country’s economy, as coal is one of the primary sources of energy for power generation, as well as for industries such as steel, cement, and fertilizers.

Which state is the largest producer of coal in India?

Jharkhand is the largest coal-producing state in India, accounting for over 25% of the country’s total coal production. The state is located in eastern India and has a large concentration of coal reserves in the Jharia, Bokaro, and Karanpura coalfields. Other major coal-producing states in India include Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. Together, these states account for over 90% of the country’s coal production.

Problems of coal mining in India

Coal mining in India has been associated with a range of environmental, social, and economic problems. Some of the major issues faced by the coal mining industry in India include:

  1. Environmental degradation: Coal mining is a major contributor to air and water pollution, soil erosion, and deforestation. The process of coal extraction and transportation can cause significant damage to the natural environment, leading to soil degradation, water scarcity, and loss of biodiversity.
  2. Health hazards: Coal mining workers are exposed to a range of health hazards, including respiratory diseases, skin diseases, and hearing loss. They also face a high risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace.
  3. Land acquisition and displacement: The acquisition of land for coal mining often involves the displacement of local communities, leading to social and economic disruptions. Many people in coal mining areas are dependent on agriculture and other traditional occupations, and the loss of land and livelihoods can have long-term consequences for their well-being.
  4. Lack of regulatory oversight: The coal mining industry in India has been criticized for its lack of regulatory oversight and enforcement. There have been instances of illegal mining, corruption, and violations of environmental and labor laws.
  5. Climate change: Coal mining is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. The use of coal for energy generation also contributes to air pollution and has been linked to respiratory diseases and premature deaths.

Solution to Problems of Coal Industry in India

Addressing the problems associated with coal mining in India will require a multifaceted approach that involves various stakeholders, including government, industry, civil society, and local communities. Here are some potential solutions:

  1. Promote sustainable mining practices: The adoption of sustainable mining practices can help reduce the environmental impact of coal mining. This includes measures such as reforestation, soil conservation, and the use of renewable energy sources in mining operations.
  2. Strengthen regulatory oversight: The Indian government should strengthen regulatory oversight and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that coal mining companies comply with environmental, labor, and social standards. This could involve stricter environmental and labor laws, as well as increased monitoring and enforcement by regulatory agencies.
  3. Invest in clean energy: The Indian government should continue to invest in clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro power as a cleaner alternative to coal. This would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, while also creating new jobs and promoting economic development.
  4. Provide social and economic support for affected communities: The Indian government and coal mining companies should provide social and economic support for communities that are affected by coal mining. This could include compensation for lost land and livelihoods, access to healthcare and education, and job training programs.
  5. Encourage public participation and transparency: The Indian government should encourage public participation and transparency in decision-making related to coal mining. This could involve greater engagement with local communities, the provision of information about mining projects, and the promotion of public awareness and education about the environmental and social impacts of coal mining.

By adopting these and other measures, it may be possible to address the problems associated with coal mining in India and move towards a more sustainable and equitable energy future.

Differences between Cooking coal and Non-cooking coal

Feature Cooking Coal Non-Cooking Coal
Also known as Coking coal Thermal coal
Primary use Production of coke Electricity generation
Carbon content High Low
Ash content Low High
Sulphur content Low High
Moisture content Low High
Volatile matter High Low
Heating value High Low
Example deposits Jharia, Raniganj Singrauli, Talcher

Distribution of Coal in India: Summary

  • Coal is the primary source of energy in India and is found in abundance in various parts of the country.
  • The major coal-bearing regions in India are the Gondwana and the Tertiary coal fields.
  • The Gondwana coal fields are located in eastern India and include regions such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha.
  • The Tertiary coal fields are located in southern and western India and include regions such as Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
  • India is the second largest coal-producing country in the world after China, with an estimated production of around 729 million tonnes in 2020.
  • The majority of coal production in India comes from open-cast mining, which accounts for over 80% of the total production.
  • Coal is primarily used for electricity generation, with around 70% of India’s electricity being generated from coal-fired power plants.
  • India also exports coal to other countries, with major export destinations including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Vietnam.
  • The coal industry in India is dominated by state-owned companies such as Coal India Limited and Singareni Collieries Company Limited.
  • The coal mining industry in India faces challenges such as environmental concerns, safety issues, and land acquisition problems, which have led to protests and opposition from local communities and environmental groups.


Q. Which of the following is the largest coal-producing state in India?
A) Jharkhand
B) Chhattisgarh
C) Odisha
D) West Bengal
Answer: A) Jharkhand

Q. Which type of coal is found in abundance in India?
A) Anthracite coal
B) Bituminous coal
C) Lignite coal
D) Sub-bituminous coal
Answer: B) Bituminous coal

Q. Which region in India has the largest reserves of tertiary coal?
A) Tamil Nadu
B) Gujarat
C) Rajasthan
D) Jammu and Kashmir
Answer: A) Tamil Nadu

Q. What is the primary use of lignite coal in India?
A) Steel production
B) Electricity generation
C) Cement production
D) Fertilizer production
Answer: B) Electricity generation

Q. Which company is the largest coal producer in India?
A) Reliance Power Limited
B) Adani Enterprises Limited
C) Coal India Limited
D) Tata Power Company Limited
Answer: C) Coal India Limited

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