Coal India workers strike cuts output by 56% -official

World's largest coal miner's production fell to 573,000 tonnes per day over the three days

  
Workers walk on a heap of coal at a stockyard of an underground coal mine in the Mahanadi coal fields at Dera, near Talcher town in the eastern Indian state of Orissa March 28, 2012.

Workers walk on a heap of coal at a stockyard of an underground coal mine in the Mahanadi coal fields at Dera, near Talcher town in the eastern Indian state of Orissa March 28, 2012.

REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

CHENNAI - A strike at Coal India Ltd cut production by 56% in the three days ending July 4 as workers oppose opening up coal mining to the private sector, a senior company official told Reuters.

The world's largest coal miner's production fell to 573,000 tonnes per day over the three days, compared with a June average output of 1.29 million tonnes per day.

Offtake by customers, such as power generators, fell nearly 62% to an average of about 536,000 tonnes per day, the official said.

"The production was higher than what was initially anticipated internally," the official said, adding that output increased progressively over the three days.

The state-run miner reported a third straight decline in monthly production in June, as national coronavirus lockdowns cut demand.

The company, which wants to produce 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2023/24, saw its annual output fall for the first time in more than two decades in 2019/20.

Provisional government data showed electricity demand fell 9.9% in June, suggesting a recovery amid greater consumption in industrial western states as India slowly lifts restrictions and allows factories and offices to operate.

However, analysts expect power usage during the current financial year to fall for the first time in decades.

Utilities have refrained from purchases of coal amid stockpiles expected to last for weeks and Coal India's own inventory hitting record highs.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; editing by Jason Neely)

© Reuters News 2020

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