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History of the AreaWestern Jharia Area (WJ Area) under BCCL came into being in 1997 after Moonidih Project and a group of mines under erstwhile Mahuda Area were combined together to form this area as a separate identity. Earlier Moonidih Project was treated as a separate area in itself. The backgrounds of each individual mine under this area are also quite different from each other and so are the geo-mining, technical as well as infrastructure parameters. While Moonidih Project was conceived as a NCDC mine way back in 1964, the mines under Mahuda group belonged to private ownership before coal mines nationalization. Two number of mines under Mahuda group, namely, Bhatdih mine and Murlidih20/21 pits mine belonged to Bengal Coal Company, whereas the ownership of Lohapatti  mine property belonged to several smaller companies which have been amalgamated to present day Lohapatti mine only after nationalization.

Location:-Western Jharia area comprises of two separate coal blocks- Moonidih Coal Block and Mahuda coal Block. While Moonidih coal block is situated in west-central Jharia Coal field, Mahuda coal basin is situated on the western part of Jharia coal field and is represented by strata of Raniganj formation. Location wise both the blocks are separated by a few kilometres and are accessible by Dhanbad- Bokaro national highway (NH 32). The distance of Moonidih from Dhanbad Railway station is  about 12 km by road, whereas the distance from the western end of Mahuda block to Bokaro steel city is also approximately 10 km. In between Moonidih coal block and Mahuda coal block lie a barren zone followed by Kapuria Coal block.

The following comprise the boundaries for Moonidih block as well as for Mahuda block:

 Name  of  the Coal Block North East West South
Moonidih Loyabad Mine Bhagaband Mine & TISCO Kapuria Block Damodar River
Mahuda Madhuban mine & Part of Govindpur Area Kapuria Block Jamunia River Damodar River

 Mines in the Area:-Western Jharia is predominantly an underground mining area, presently comprising of four underground mines. There is as such no open cast project in the area, though a few small  patches of open cast workings with hired HEMM have been earmarked within the area with short term perspective and one of these is being worked at present. Besides the above stated, a Pilot Project for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is in operation under the area. The CBM project is located in the southern part of Moonidih Block where a number of coal seams have occurred at comparatively greater depth (More than 1000m) and are still virgin. The following are the present status of existing mines and CBM Pilot project in Western Jharia area:

Name of the Block & Mine/Project Brief Description & Present Status
Moonidih Coal Block  
Moonidih Project Moonidih Project is the only coal producing unit in Moonidih coal block. The project was conceived in 1964 as a NCDC mine under Polish collaboration for a rated capacity of 2.1 MTY. But due to difficult geo-mining conditions and tough environmental parameters, the project was subsequently de-rated to 1.5 MTY and in 1988-89 the project achieved its pick production level of 1.2 Million ton.From the very inception the mine was designed for Longwall mechanization and initially Longwall method with hand held supports was implemented in the mine. Ultimately in 1978 the first ever Powered Support Longwall (PSLW) technology in Indian context was deployed in this mine, thus Moonidih Project becoming the pioneer of PSLW mining in our country. Simultaneously with PSLW equipment for gate road development and panel formation Road-header machines were also brought into operation in this mine. Since then the mine is pursuing PSLW technology and has become the centre for developing skill and aptitude for mechanized mining methods.

Moonidih is also distinct for its deep shafts of 545m and 560m  in depth (one of the deep-most coal mines in India), high capacity Kopae winders, integrated coal washery and captive power plant. Horizon mining has made accessibility to the multiple seams easy & efficient and development of loco-horizons have made man & material transport comparatively comfortable despite extreme extensiveness of the mine.

The coal evacuation from the mine is through a series of belt conveyors and about 1800 T worth of bunkerage capacity inclusive of the main strata bunker of 1200 T capacity have been built up underground. The coal from the mine through strata bunker is loaded in hoisting skips (A pair of skips having 10T capacity each), brought to surface and discharged through a belt conveyor to adjoining Moonidih coal washery directly.

Environmental Parameters :- Moonidih mine is deep (present workings are going on at depth range 450-650m from surface), actively gassy (Deg-III) with high strata temperature and occasional encountering of hot strata water. Added to these factors are the factors of high mechanization and long heading drivages, which are constantly posing a challenge for efficient ventilation and comfortable environmental parameters in the mine, specially in terms of high temperature and very high relative humidity. The mine is ventilated by a high capacity Main Mech. Ventilator; yet the challenge sustains and more efficient methods are being considered for future, specially considering future perspective of the mine.

Pilot Project for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) recovery and commercial utilization This is the second object within Moonidih block under UNDP/GEF/GoI with BCCL, CMPDIL and ONGC as implementing agencies. Its objective is to demonstrate the exploration, exploitation & commercial utilization of CBM recovered from virgin gassy coal seams (1st phase) and from within sealed off worked out areas (2nd phase). The pilot project is to exploit gas from 5(Five) boreholes, each 1000-1150m in depth, and to generate 1(one) megawatt power by using an expected methane emission of 2500 cu.m/ day. Presently 3 boreholes are drilled and two of these are producing gas for generation of 500 watt, which is being commercially used. The sites for other boreholes are being prepared.
Mahuda Coal Block  
Murlidih 20/21 pits Mine Murlidih 20/21 pits mine in pre-nationalized period belonged to M/S  Bengal Coal Company and was nationalized along with other coking coal mines in 1971-72. The mine is opened with a pair of inclines and a pair of vertical shafts. Two seams, namely Mahuda Top seam & Mahuda Bottom seam have occurred in the mine, out of which the property in Mahuda bottom seam is alredy worked as much as possible. In the rest part of the property there is presence of Jhama making it not viable to extract the seam any more. Presently the workings are being done In Mahuda top seam. The method of mining is B&P with SDL and the coal evacuation with a combination of haulage system within the working districts and belt conveyors as trunk circuit upto the surface.There are 5 SDL machines on roll in the mine. The mine was operating with one depillaring district (With 2 SDLs) and one SDL development district(with 3 SDLs) in 2009-10, when on 6.10.09 a fire broke out in the belt incline of the mine, which was also an intake for the mine ventilating air. This prompted the mine to stop all operations for sealing off the fire area by making fire stoppings at both ends of the inclines. During the period of stoppage of mining operations, huge part of the mine was drowned by incoming water through “FISSURE ZONE”. After effectively sealing off the fire, HT pumping in multiple stages were resumed and after dewatering, the mine is at present all set to resume production from mid of July,2010. Since the earlier coal evacuation system through incline is discontinued due to sealing off of the fire area, a new coal evacuation system through No.20 pit to surface and a new coal handling arrangement on surface with a combination of tippler, bunker, feeder belt and discharge arrangement on tippers for transport to Mahuda coal washery has been established.
Lohaqpatti Mine Lohapatti mine is an amalgamation of several smaller collieries belonging to different owners in pre-nationalized period. The mine property is characterized by a number of thin seams with comparatively steep gradient which compelled to continue manual loading mining, despite of tremendous human drudgery, specially loaders, till recent past due to indecision on any suitable technology for any kind of mechanization in the mine. Only from 1st April, 2010 the mine has been switched over to loader-less by introducing one set of low height SDL machine as an intermediary stage in Pathergoria B seam, though this low height SDL is also a mismatch in relation to the very low thickness of the seam. This has prompted to think of a more suitable technology and Continuous Miner compatible for thin seam and comparatively steep gradient condition is being considered for the mine. The mine is producing Non-coking Long flame Grade B & Grade C coal and thus the only non-coking coal producing mine in the area.
Bhatdih Mine Bhatdih coal mine is at present a non-producing mine since fire damp explosion in the mine on 6.9.2006, killing 50 persons.The mine, also a Bengal coal company mine during the pre-nationalization period is characterized by steep seam gradient. Till Sept,2006 Mahuda top seam (Gelogical-III seam; Gradient 1 in 3.4) was being worked by Inclines 14 & 15, whereas Mahuda Bottom seam (Geological- 0 seam with gradient 1 in 3.0 ) was being worked by another pair of inclines- namely inclines No. 17 & 18. The method of mining was B&P depillaring with stowing.

The seams in the mine are categorized as of degree-III gassiness. On 6.9.2006 in 2nd shift the fire damp explosion occurred in the mine in Mahuda Bottom seam in Incline No.17. Since then all the mining operations in Inclines 17 & 18 are stopped and in inclines 14 & 15 also (in Mahuda top seam) only pumping operations are in process. The balance property of Mahuda top seam within Bhatdih colliery leasehold was annexed to adjoining Murlidih 20/21 pit mine for its exploitation from that mine. But after the incidence of fire in Murlidih 20/21 pits mine, it has again been returned to Bhatdih colliery with the program to go for prior degasification of the seam before exploring the possibility to exploit the same from Bhatdih side itself by any suitable mining technology.

Murlidih Open Cast Patch by Hired HEMM Murlidih open cast patch with hired HEMM is being worked for extraction of balance coal left in the outcrop region of Mahuda top seam within the property of old Murlidih coal mine. The average stripping ratio in the property is 1 in 7 with a total extractable reserve of 1.44 Lakh ton of coal. The coal is of W-II grade and is being despatched to Mahuda coal washery.


Mine-wise-Seam-wise Coal Reserve:-

Name of the Mine Seam Nomenclature Geological Reserve(Mln.T) Extractable Reserve(Mln.T) Present Status of the Seam
Moonidih Project i)XVIII seam

ii)XVII (Top) seam

iii)XVII(Bottom) seam

iv)XVI(Top) & XVI(Comb) seams

v)XVI(Bottom) seam

vi)XV(Top) seam

vii) XV(Bot) seam

viii) XV© seam




21.30 +











Major part blocked within multiple faults. Sizable area contains Jhama.Worked & exhausted

Non-workable due to thin seam

Major part exhausted in XVI(T); Jhama & stone intrusion in XVI©.

Minor part workable. Dip side thinned.

Nearly Virgin. Dev. Work started.

Totally virgin

Totally virgin

Murlidih 20/21 Pits mine i)Mahuda (Top) seam

ii)Mahuda (Bottom) seam





Working seam. About 30% of reserve within sealed off area due to fire.Exhausted. No further work.
Lohapatti mine i)Lohapatti Middle seam

ii)Pathargoria “A” seam

iii)Pathargoria “B” seam

iv)Lohapatti Bottom seam

v) Bhurungia Top seam

vi)Mahuda top seam

vii)Mahuda Middle seam















Partially extracted. The balance property is to be takenfrom both sides of Maheshpur dyke.Partially extracted. The balance property is to be taken from east side of Maheshpur dyke.

Presently Low height SDL operating in this seam.

Practically virgin in west side of Maheshpur dyke


Virgin. Located at greater depth.

Virgin. Located at greater depth.

Bhatdih mine i)Mahuda Top seam

ii)Mahuda Bottom seam





Presently non-working since fire damp explosion in the mine. Actively gassy. Programmed for prior degasification.-Do-


Details of Leasehold Area:-

Following is the details of leasehold areas of the mines- working, non-working as well as abandoned within WJ area:-

Name of the Mine Leasehold Area (Hac) Status of the mine
Moonidih Project   Working mine
Murlidih 20/21 pits mine 446.62 Working mine
Murlidih mine 315.62 UG working completed. Outsourcing opencast with hired HEMM in outcrop zone.
Lohapatti mine 1620.92 Working mine
Bhatdih mine 749.67 Stopped till firedamp explosion on 6.9.06.
Hantudih mine 193.61 Abandoned since 1993.
Muchraidih mine 83.21 Abandoned since 1943-44
East Muchraidih   Abandoned since 1943-44
Bhurungia Project 170.00 Stopped till 1994 due to drowning
Podugoda   Abandoned since 1932


Recently initiative has been taken to redefine the surface leasehold and boundaries of all the mines under WJ area for proper administrative control over the total leasehold area. Several patches for open cast works with hired HEMM are being planned within the leaseholds of working and abandoned mines. There is also an initiative to extend the leasehold of Lohapatti mine by about 323 acres by including parts of Kalyanpur, Simatand and Telmuchu mouzas for providing adequate reserve of coal (additional 1.05 million ton)  for proposed Continuous Miner Technology in the mine. 

Area Affected by fire & subsidence & its dealing- 

The following are the mine-wise status of fire and subsidence within the area:

Moonidih Mine-

            Fire- There is only one incidence of heating in the mine in the year 1993 when spontaneous heating occurred in one of the powered support Longwall panels (F-1 panel in XVI© seam). The work in the panel was at the verge of completion when on 21.8.93 heating was detected in the goaf. The heating was controlled by restricted ventilation and Nitrogen flushing inside the goaf and after successful withdrawal of the total powered support Longwall equipment from the panel, the panel was effectively sealed off with EP stoppings. The date of final sealing was 27.10.93. 

            Subsidence- Despite of multiple seam mining at Moonidih mine there are certain typical geological features , which are largely responsible for minimum affect of subsidence on the surface land. These typical features as well as the means to deal with effects of subsidence, wherever it has occurred  or means adopted to curb the possibilities of any subsidence are enumerated below:

a)    Comparatively deep deposits and medium range thickness of the seams resulted in comparatively higher ratio of extraction thickness vs. depth of hard cover (Less chance of subsidence effect on surface).

b)    In many parts within Moonidih leasehold only one seam has been worked as other seams, though present, are not workable either due to huge pyrelitization or other types of geological inconsistencies.

c)    However there are areas where effects of subsidence were observed. In some places the effect was manifested in form of minor cracks, which were dealt by manual filling. Yet in some other areas, specially where multiple seam working was commenced, substantial subsidence measuring upto 1.5m in depth on surface land was recorded. This prompted to shift certain structures belonging to BCCL in safer locations and providing compensations in case of certain cultivating land belonging to private ownership. 

d)    In the context of above experience in some places, where permanent structures, either belonging to BCCL or private ownership are existing or the surface rights do not belong to BCCL, limited span working method was adopted during extraction of lower seam/seams, where the upper seam was earlier extracted without any manifestation of surface subsidence.

e)    With future projection of workings in XV(Top) & XV(Bot) seams in the mine, which are practically virgin at this point of time, there is likelihood of substantial effect on surface land due to subsidence. However, it requires a comprehensive scientific study to determine its dimensions and measures to deal with that situation. 

Murlidih 20/21 pits mine-

Fire- There is no earlier record of mine fire in the mine except the recent one that occurred on 6.10.09 in Podugoda section of the mine. The brief description of the same is already given above while briefing about the mine. But one important point that requires emphasis is that within 48 hours of outbreak of fire there was observed presence of inflammable gas being generated within fire area, in all probability as a distillation product. As a precautionary measure all UG works related to sealing off of the fire was suspended till the generation of inflammable gas was brought under control by Nitrogen flushing in conjunction with foam generating agents.

The fire area was effectively sealed off on 24.10.09 and till date it is sealed off.

Subsidence- Extent of workings in Murlidih 20/21 pits mine ranges from very shallow depth (out-crop of Mahuda top seam) to substantial depths in the dip side of the property. This has resulted in wide-spread subsidence in the shallow part of the deposits. The phenomenon of surface subsidence further aggravated due to working in two seams namely, Mahuda (Top) & Mahuda (Bot) seams, requiring regular surface dozing, manual filling and maintenance of surface drainage system.  In the deeper side of the property on the basis of scientific studies conducted by CMRI (Presently CIMFR) limited span method was adopted for development and subsequent extraction (Depillaring) of narrow panels to avoid surface subsidence. 

Lohapatti Mine:-

 Fire- There is no record of mine fire in Lohapatti mine. 

Subsidence- As per record surface cracks were observed during extraction of some of the panels in Kandra section while working in Lohapatti middle seam. The same were manually filled up with mutti and by surface dozing. Later on during workings in Pathergoria A seam and Pathergoria B seam, which are thin seams, development of pillars have been mainly done and a large part of the property is standing on pillars. Therefore, subsidence till date posed no major problem. However, with the future plan to depillar the developed panels, subsidence dealing will be a major concern for the mine.  

Bhatdih Mine:- 

Fire- There are records of three occurrences of fire in the mine, though by nature the fires are of different origin.

i)             The first occurrence of fire in Old Bhatdih unit refers to 1938, when a fire broke out in a depillaring district with caving method in Mahuda top seam, killing 4 persons. The fire was sealed off.

ii)            The second occurrence happened in 1969, when in Nagda section there was the phenomenon of burning of inflammable gas in a localized manner claiming one life.

iii)           The third occurrence took place in 1979, when heating was detected in one working panel under extraction by caving method in Mahuda top seam in Nagda section. Later on  in 1984-85 the panel was reopened and coal was extracted by using stowing method.

 Subsidence- There is no major record of subsidence in Bhatdih mine. Spec

Future Planning:-

Name of the mine Future Planning
Moonidih Mine i) Implementation of the contract already made between BCCL and M/S ZMJ, China for minimum guaranteed production level of 0.7 MTY coal from XVI(Top) seam on risk and gain sharing basis with 2X650 T capacity powered support LW equipment.ii) Introduction of Powered support Longwall technology at virgin XV seam in the mine for 1.5-2.0 MTY production  level for which EoI from domestic and global bidders have been invited.

iii)Installation and commissioning of Centralized Air-conditioning plant for chilling of ventilating air, entering in to the mine for improvement of underground environmental conditions right up to distant most working districts for which proposal for calling EoI from domestic and global bidders has been moved.

iv)Installation and commissioning of Man-riding system in the mine, for which CMPDI study has already been conducted and proposal has been moved.

v)Studies are being conducted to enhance mine evacuation capacity to deal with higher production level to the tune of 2.0 MTY and above.

Murlidih 20/21 Pits Mine With the return back of annexed deep side property of Mahuda (top) seam to Bhatdih colliery and rearrangement of mine evacuation layout as discussed above in the part “Brief description of the mines”, the scope of the mine has become very limited. It has been decided to extract the existing property within the alredy developed panels to be extracted gradually in next few years period.
Lohapatti Mine Introduction of Continuous Miner technology in “Thin seam & steep gradient” condition, for which approval by BCCL board has already been provided. Drilling of exploratory boreholes for proving the reserve of coal required for calling global bid for CM technology has been initiated. 
Bhatdih Mine Drilling of boreholes for Prior degasification of active gassy seams of Bhatdih by CBM method and utilization of the produced inflammable gas is under process with the idea that in future the property of Bhatdih mine will be worked by suitable underground mining method by reopening the mine either by using the existing mine entries or by opening additional means of access and egress.