Coal continues to play a major role in the economic development of a country, especially in metallurgical industries and conventional power generation plants. Coal is highly variable with respect to the physical and chemical properties that affect its use. Industries that use coal specify a range of properties that are required for their intended process. Coal suppliers try to find coals that most closely match those requirements. For effective utilization of high ash coals, it is necessary to beneficiate them. Coal is treated in processes called beneficiation to prepare a material that meets the customers needs and is as homogenous as possible. Therefore, coal beneficiation, i.e., the separation of particles low in ash from those high in ash, is likely to return great economic, technical, and environmental benefits.
Coal is the dominant energy source in India, accounting for more than half of the country's requirements. 70% of India's coal production is used for power generation, with the remainder being used by heavy industry and public use. Domestic supplies satisfy most of India's coal demand. India had 2009 coal production of 557.57 million tonnes, 6.2% of the world total. The worlds major producers are China, the USA, India, Australia, Russia, Indonesia and South Africa. India is the world's third largest coal consuming nation after China and the USA. Although India is a major producer of coal, it produces only limited quantities of coking coal needed by its steel plants.
In a bid to break the public sector monopoly over coal, the government is seeking to introduce legislative changes allowing for private mining, whilst liberalizing norms for the allocation of captive blocks permitting trading of coal. The government is contemplating the allocation of captive blocks for setting up washeries in the private sector. Captive block holders would also be permitted to sell their coal on the open market. The current legislative requirements permit private-sector investment only for the limited purpose of setting up coal washeries and captive mining for specified end-uses, including setting up power plants, fertilizer and steel units.
Coal tar, a byproduct of coal is a brown or black liquid of high viscosity, which smells of naphthalene and aromatic hydrocarbons. Coal tars are complex and variable mixtures of phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heterocyclic compounds which are produced when coal is carbonized to make coke or gasified to make coal gas.
Carbon Black is also an important industrial raw material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FCC tar, coal tar, ethylene cracking tar, and a small amount from vegetable oil. It is a form of amorphous carbon that has a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, although its surface-area-to-volume ratio is low compared to that of activated carbon. Carbon black is used as a pigment and reinforcement in rubber and plastic products and is in the top 50 industrial chemicals manufactured worldwide, based on annual tonnage. Approximately 90% of carbon black is used in rubber applications, 9% as a pigment, and the remaining 1% as an essential ingredient in hundreds of diverse applications.
India’s mining sector will continue to post impressive over the forecast period driven by strong domestic demand. The long-term prospects of the sector like that of the Indian economy remain very positive.