• Also called as black gold.
  • Found in sedimentary layers strata [layers of soil].
  • Contains carbon, volatile matter, moistureand ash (which contains Sulphur and phosphorous]
  • used for power generation and metallurgy.
  • Coal reserves are six times greater than oil and petroleum reserves.

A) Carboniferous Coal

  • Most of the world’s coal was formed in Carboniferous age [350 million years ago][Best quality coal].With in a duration is approximately 60 million years.
  • Carboniferous refers to coal-bearing strata.








  • Peat, Lignite, Bituminous & Anthracite Coal.
  • This division is based on carbon content, ash and moisture content.
  • The older the coal – the better the quality and content of carbon. When same coal is pressurised for million of years it transforms to better




A) Peat

  • It is the first stage of transformation.
  • Contains less than 40 to 55 per cent carbon, has more impurities.
  • Contains sufficient volatile matter and lot of moisture leading to more smoke and pollution
  • Left to itself, it burns like wood, gives less heat, emits huge smoke and leaves a lot of ash.

B) Lignite

  • Brown coal.
  • Lower grade coal.
  • 40 to 60 per cent carbon.
  • Moisture content is high (over 35 per cent).

C) Bituminous Coal

  • Soft coal; most widely available coal.
  • Name is derived from a liquid called bitumen.
  • 40 to 80 per cent carbon content.
  • Moisture and volatile content (15 to 40 per cent)
  • Dense, compact, usually of grey colour.
  • Calorific value is high due to high proportion of carbon, low moisture and impurities.
  • Used in production of coke and gas.

D) Anthracite Coal

  • Best quality; hard coal.
  • 80 to 95 per cent carbon.
  • Has miniscule volatile matter.; Negligible proportion of moisture.
  • Semi-metallic lustre.
  • Ignites slowly and is extremely efficient.
  • Burns with a short blue flame.
  • In India, it is found only in Jammu and Kashmir in small quantity.



  • Maximum of the Russia’s coal is in Siberian Region and is still untapped.
  • Carboniferous coal of Great Lakes and Appalachians region helped USA become a leading industrialized nation similarly the Coal reserves in Ruhr and Rhineland region coupled with rich iron deposits have made Germany a leading industrial super power of Europe.
  • England has benefited immensely from its coal reserves of South Whales, Yorkshire, Manchester, Liverpool etc. beginning of Industrial revolution in this region was due to the vast coal resources that were open to be tapped.
  • Brazil – a leading coal producer in South America, coal is used for power generation and is exported to China similarly in Australia– Most of its coal is exported to China, Japan and even India. It has rich coking coal deposits. India imports coking coal mainly from Australia.
  • China’s coal is of poor quality therefore is dependent on import of metallurgical grade coal from Australia and brazil.
  • South Africa is the only region in Africa with significant amount of coal reserves.



















Gondwana Coal

  • About 98 per cent of the total reserves and 99 per cent of the production of coal in India are from GONDWANA coal.
  • Coking /non-coking and bituminous /sub-bituminous coal are obtained from Gondwana coal fields.
  • Gondwana coal fields doesn’t have reserves of Anthracite. Gondwana coal is free from moisture, but it contains impurities like Sulphur and Phosphorous.
  • These basins occur in the valleys of certain rivers viz., the Damodar (Jharkhand-West Bengal); the Mahanadi (Chhattisgarh-Odisha); the Son (Madhya Pradesh Jharkhand); the Godavari and the Wardha (Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh); the Indravati, the Narmada, the Koel, the Panch, the Kanhan and many more.

Tertiary Coal

  • Tertiary coal 15 to 60 million years old. With low carbon content and high percentage of moistureand Sulphur.
  • Important areas of Tertiary coal include parts of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Himalayan foothills of Darjeeling in West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala,



C) Coal Reserves in India by State

Name of the state

Reserves in billion tonne

% of total reserves

1.   JHARKHAND 80.71 26.76
2.   ODISHA 75.07 24.89
3.   CHATTISHGARH 52.53 17.42
4.   WEST BENGAL 31.31 10.38
5.   MADHYA PRADESH 25.67 8.51

 D) Coal Production in India by State

  1. Chhattisgarh
  2. Jharkhand
  3. Odisha
  4. Madhya Pradesh
  5. Andhra Pradesh

E) Problems of Coal Mining in India

  • The distribution of coal is uneven across the national regions.
  • High ash content and low caloric value, high sulphur and phosphorus, more possibility of environmental pollution. Clean coal mining technologies are expensive and out of reach of Indian PSUs.
  • Most of coal is dug out from underground mines. [Very few open cast mines]
  • Loss of lives and infrastructure- fires in coal mines is a major problem.
  • Substandard, unplanned and constrained logistics – delay and pilferages in transportation
  • Mishandling of good quality coal (coking coal) for burning into transport and industries.
  • Short life of metallurgical coal; Selective mining leading to large scale wastage of raw coal; Unscientific method of extraction of coal.

F) Measures to be taken

  • Coking coal should be used for metallurgical industry only.
  • Low grade coal should be washed and blended with superior quality coal in requisite proportion and used in industries. [Clean Coal Technology]
  • Selective mining should be discouraged and all possible coal output from the mines shall be utilized.
  • New coal reserves should be discovered and newer techniques shall be adopted to increase the efficiency in mining and also safeguard the environmental concerns.
  • Alternative source of energy shall be encouraged.



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