The first coal mining in India started in 1774 by the East India Company in the Raniganj Coalfield along the Western bank of Damodar river.
The commercial coal mining in India is driven by the domestic consumption.
India has abundant domestic reserves of coal. Most of these are in the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.
On account of the growing needs of the steel industry, a thrust had to be given on systematic exploitation of coking coal reserves in Jharia coalfield.
Adequate capital investment to meet the burgeoning energy needs of the country was not forthcoming from the private coal mine owners.
Unscientific mining practices adopted by some of them and poor working conditions of labor in some of the private coal mines became matters of concern for the Government.
The Central Government nationalized the private coal mines in two phases, the first with the coking coal mines in 1971-72 and then with the non-coking coal mines in 1973.
According to the coal Mines Nationalisation Act of 1973, the Government of India has a monopoly over all coal reserves in the country.