Coal Exploration - COAL EXPLORATION F ollowing...

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2 C OAL E XPLORATION F ollowing nationalization of the coal industry in the early 1970s major strides have been made in geological exploration work, leading to the current total inventory of nearly 246 billion tonne of coal reserves. About 2,45,000m of exploratory drilling is being done annually. Large capacity mechanized mines have also been started, both opencast and underground, which call for accurate exploration data so as not to jeopardize high capital investment because geological anomalies, like faults, dykes and presence of stone bands, can adversely affect mining operations resulting in delays, unproductive expenditure, loss of production and unsafe conditions. A total of 19 research projects have been completed under the Coal S&T Grant in the area of exploration techniques. Efforts have been made through sustained R&D work, mainly at CMPDI, to enhance both the pace and accuracy of coal exploration for improved geological modeling of the coal resources of the country. Many of the exploration techniques introduced through these R&D efforts are now employed on a routine basis. Research projects completed in this area are listed in table 2. Introduction of geophysical techniques, which were hardly used for coal exploration before nationalization of the industry, has resulted in significant gains by reducing the earlier practice of 100% core drilling of boreholes for exploration. Core drilling is both time consuming and expensive; whereas non-core drilling, though much more economical, requires high degree of accuracy for identification and delineation of rock strata by geophysical techniques. Not only within the country, nearly 50% of the drilling carried out by CMPDI in Mchuchuma coalfield of Tanzania was of the non-coring type. As a result of the successful application of geophysical methods, demonstrated by the S&T projects, other coal producing companies also have adopted this highly cost saving tool for their exploration needs. Multi-parametric Geophysical Logging O ne of the S&T projects has enabled multi- parametric geophysical logging for Indian coal measure strata, which produces a suite of geophysical logs consisting of resistance, focused resistivity, natural gamma, density, Geological Model
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3 neutron, sonic and caliper records. Multi- parametric geophysical logging is used to provide accurate information regarding the thickness of coal seam, presence of dirt bands and lithology of rock strata in the boreholes leading to precise sub-surface information. Interpretation of the logs is done mostly through a software called SASLINT developed for the purpose. The technique is being regularly employed now for both coring and non-coring boreholes to identify lithology of the strata encountered along with ash, moisture and volatile matter contents of the coal seams.
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