Nigahi Coal Mine

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

The Nigahi Opencast Coal Mine is an opencast mine, operated by Northern Coalfields Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India, producing 18.75 million-tonnes-per-annum, in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh state, India.


The satellite image below shows the area of the mine in Nigahi village, Singrauli District, Madhya Pradesh.

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Background on Mine

The Nigahi Opencast Coal Mine is operated by Northern Coalfields Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited. The mine lies on the western side of the existing Jayant Opencast Mine and eastern side of Amlohri Opencast Mine. The mine is linked to 4,760MW Vindhyachal power station of NTPC.


As of October 2019, the project proponent has submitted a proposal for the expansion of environmental clearance to 21 million ton-per-annum in the mine lease area of 3018.40ha. The proposal was deferred in the 48th Expert Appraisal Committee meeting for Coal Mining Projects held on 3rd-4th October 2019.[1]

The Expert Appraisal Committee noted during the meeting that the project proponent has not submitted an addendum EIA for the increase in production capacity or additional measures it proposes to undertake since the project lies in a Severely Polluted Area.[1]

As per the Central Pollution Control Board's Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), the Singrauli Area (including Sonebhadra area) is classified as a Critically Polluted Area.[2]

Court Case

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 11th October 2019, ordered coal mines as well as coal-based thermal power stations operating in the critically polluted Singrauli area of Madhya Pradesh and Sonebhadra area of Uttar Pradesh to pay a fine of Rs 79 crore. The order came in response to a petition filed by Anjani Jaiswal against the polluting units for causing damage to the environment. The NGT directed the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to recover environmental compensation from the polluting thermal power plants (TPP) and Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL) mining projects of Singrauli and Sonebhadra area. The fine will be collected as part of the environmental compensation fund by the pollution control boards (60 percent to the CPCB and 40 percent to the state pollution boards) and will be used largely for restoration studies.[3]

For social workers and people, the penalty is less than one percent of the profit made by giant operators in the area — NTPC and NCL.[4] Priyavrat Bhati, an advisor with Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment or CSE, felt the penalty was grossly inadequate. “The legal provisions to assess penalty — Rs 30,000 per day for environmental damage — are grossly inadequate. The plants have been asked to pay only Rs 79 crore for enormous damage to air and water bodies over a period of two decades,” he said. According to Section 15(1) of the Environment Protection Act, 1972, a maximum fine up to Rs 100,000 a day can be charged for non-compliance.

“We will challenge the report of the committee. We are looking into the possibility of filing an appeal petition at NGT or a higher court. They have ignored the pollution from private industries in the area. The compensation is not sufficient to restore the environment in the area,” said Abhishek Chaubey, lawyer of the petitioner Jaiswal, who is an advocate at the Allahabad High Court.[4]

Threat to Wildlife

The Nigahi Coal Mine falls in the corridor of Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanjay National Park in Madhya Pradesh and Tamoripingla Wildlife Sanctuary, Semarsot Wildlife Sanctuary, Palamau Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhattisgarh.

Project Details

Project Expansion Details

  • Status: Proposed
  • Size of Expansion: 2.25 MTPA (from 18.75 MTPA to 21MTPA)
  • Mineable Reserves: 224.07 million tonnes
  • Mine Expansion Size: Nil
  • Start Year: Environmental Clearance in process
  • Source of Financing:
  • Permits and Applications: Project Summary and Form-1 for 21MTPA Expansion Northern Coalfields, July 2019

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