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By Investing in Methane Capture Mining Cos Can up Revenues by 30 percent: Experts

Incentivise mining companies on methane handling, experts suggest to govt.Fix accountability to capture methane from abandoned coal minesCoal Bed Methane utilisation can help India save over $2 bln in imports billClimate scientists today suggested to the state government to incentivise and urge coal mining companies on methane handling, considering that methane’s potential to warm the environment is 84 times more than that of Carbon-di-oxide (CO2). Among other suggestions the experts also suggested that somebody should be made accountable to capture methane from abandoned coal mines that continue to emit methane in the environment, which has not been addressed as yet.L to R: Prof C K Varshney, Advisor ICCSA, Prof. A D Sawant SOCLEEN, Mr Pravin Darade, Principal Secy MoE&CC, Mr Vijay S Nahata, Chairman SEIAA, Dr Rakesh Kumar OSD, CSIR, Mr Ajit K Saxena CMD MOILA White Paper shall be drafted through the day-long workshop ‘Sustainable Mining & Methane Management, CBM & CMM that was jointly organised by International Centre for Climate and Sustainability Action Foundation (ICCSA), Society for Clean Environment (SOCLEEN) and the Government of Maharashtra. The White Paper will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Maharashtra, and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).In his special address at the workshop Shri Vijay S. Nahata, Chairman SEIAA said,”I request the organisers to suggest key points that we as government can implement to have a better and cleaner environment for our future generations.” He suggested using modern tools in mining to reduce environmental and climate impact. India is committed to Net Zero by 2070, and we will continue to co-operate and work with industries and other stakeholders for the betterment of our environment, said Shri Nahata.Citing successful examples of Majhi Vasudha campaign, Shri Pravin Darade, Principal Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Maharashtra, also holding additional charge of Member Secretary Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, said, “Clearly people are now becoming aware of the issues with the environment. When we launched the Majhi Vasudha campaign three years ago, about 600 representatives from urban local bodies attended the conference, which increased to 11,000 and 17,000 in subsequent years.” The government will be happy to work together with experts on this important issue of climate change and especially methane emissions from various sources.Dr Rakesh Kumar, Officer on Special Duty at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) suggested that mining companies should also be made aware of the revenue potential that Methane capture can have. “By increasing their operational spending by 10 percent towards methane capturing, the mining industries can create a separate revenue stream that can give them three times the returns on the investment.” Considering the fact that industries are more focussed on increasing revenues, we must help them in optimal methane capture so that they can increase revenues.”While mining companies shall be able to increase their revenues in the short term, allied benefits relating to the environment and health of people residing in areas closer to mining, will take some time to show. Growth in coal production is directly proportional to the release of methane from mining activities. While India relies majorly on coal production from open cast mines, increasing production may require adoption of deeper mining of coal seams. If that is the case, utilisation of CMM could be one of the potential energy sources and also has climate mitigation co-benefit,” said Dr Kumar.Professor A D Sawant, President SOCLEEN in his opening speech suggested that having government policy towards climate change is definitely the first and a step in the right direction, but the know how should also be shared with the mining officials who are there at the site. While we invite executives involved in operations to attend such meetings, we must also have such workshops closer to mining areas.Prof Varshney, Distinguished Professor and Advisor ICCSA said that Utilisation of coal mine methane has the potential to benefit India by reducing emissions and increasing domestic energy security. Methane is the primary component of natural gas, which is responsible for the Earth’s warming. Methane (CH4) concentrations in the atmosphere have more than doubled since pre-industrial times. CH4 is the second-leading cause of climate change after carbon dioxide, rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius or likely 2 degrees Celsius.”India is sitting on a huge opportunity to convert waste into energy. As per our calculation, 15 large states in the country are generating over 1.38 lakh tonnes of waste every day, and if we can deploy globally available advanced technologies to generate energy through the trash, we can set up a 5600 MW capacity waste-to-energy plant. Even at 50 percent utilisation, India will have about 2800 MW of electricity generated through garbage,” Professor Bhaskar Kura, Founder of i2Care, said during the ‘Sustainable Mining and Methane Management.The workshop was attended by experts including Prof C K Varshney, former Dean at Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr Sarala Balachandran, Chief Scientist at CSIR, Shri Ajit Kumar Saxena Chairman cum Managing Director MOIL, Dr R K Vij Professor PDEU, Gandhinagar, Dr Kaushik Chakraborty, former ED at Western Coalfield Ltd, and Shri Priyank Singhvi co-founder ICCSA.About ICSSAICCSA is a not-for-profit organisation that is committed to contributing to a better world for people and the planet. It was established with focus to plug the gaps in environmental management to provide an institutional platform for coordination, facilitation, advocacy, and regional and international collaboration; with an aim of development of targeted solutions. Headquartered at Greater Noida, ICCSA believes to restore ecosystem health, regenerate nature on Earth by providing targeted solutions to drive sustainable development for a future which is bright, positive and resilient.

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