Coal India, a state-owned coal mining company in India, is projected to cut about 73,800 jobs, according to a report 'Global Coal Mine Tracker' from Global Energy Monitor, released this week.
India’s coal mining industry employs more than three lakh workers in active mining projects, ranking it as the second-largest coal producer globally. Around 70 nations collectively produce 7.9 billion tonnes of coal every year.
At least 100 workers at Coal India, which operates under the Ministry of Coal of the Government of India, fear job losses every day. Interestingly, the company currently employs about 2.30 lakh workers, a decrease from 3.10 lakh in 2017. The country is steadily moving towards adopting green energy resources under its Net Zero Emissions by 2070 initiative, as revealed in August 2023 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Furthermore, India will not be the only country spearheading layoffs in the coal mining industry worldwide; China's coal mining industry, which has around 1.5 million workers, will also contribute to global layoffs. Reportedly, six coal mining companies, including China Energy, Jinneng Group, Shandong Energy, China Coal, Shaanxi Coal, and Chemical Industry Group, will be among the top 10 companies to lay off 5,00,000 workers in the next 25 years.
The report states, “Coal miners face the harsh prospect of job layoffs due to scheduled mine closures and a market shift toward cheaper wind and solar power generation, whether or not their home country has a coal phase-out policy in place. An average of 100 workers per day faces potential unemployment by 2035.”
Commenting on the projections, Dorothy Mei, Project Manager for the Global Coal Mine Tracker at Global Energy Monitor, said, “Coal mine closures are inevitable, but economic hardship and social strife for workers are not. Viable transition planning is happening, as seen in Spain, where the country regularly reviews the ongoing impacts of decarbonization. Governments should draw inspiration from its success in planning their own energy transition strategies.”
Recommending transition planning for the workers losing their jobs, Ryan Driskell Tate, Coal Program Director at Global Energy Monitor, said, “We need to put workers first on the agenda if we want to ensure the just transition isn’t just talk. With technologies and markets primed for an energy transition, we have to be proactive about the unique concerns of coal miners and their communities.”