The percentage recovery by this method is up to 90 per cent of the in-situ coal reserves. The coal production from opencast method in Indian mining is more than 80 per cent of total production. This trend is likely to continue in near future.
The thick seam deposits earlier developed in Bord and Pillar (BandP) method or other methods of underground mining which had been standing on pillars for long in absence of a suitable technology of extraction have now in many cases become extractable by opencast mining.
This method has been tried with success in some of the mines where underground mining was carried out in the past under the relatively shallow cover. The longwall methods are being applied in the case of underground mines to achieve higher underground production with higher percentage of recovery. The overall recovery in longwall technology is comparatively more than the recovery in Band mining.
The Coal Conservation and Development Act, 1974 provides for imposition of excise duty on coal despatches for meeting activities like conservation of coal, development/introduction of new technology in coal mines, safety in mines and assistance in mining operation.
A number of research and development activities in coal sector are carried out under the overall guidance and supervision of the Standing Scientific and Research Committee and its four sub-committees.
Special efforts to improve the standard of safety in the coal industry have brought down the rate of fatalities per million tonne of output in Coal India Limited from 2.62 in the year 1975 to 0.24 in the year 2002. A Standing Committee on Safety regularly reviews safety standatds in coal mines.