Ministry adds 11 more coal mines for auction
The Ministry of Coal has added 11 new blocks to the list of mines planned to be offered for the second phase of the commercial coal auctions.
With the new additions, as many as 75 mines with reserves of about 38,000 mt of the fuel, will tentatively be offered for commercial mining without any end-use restrictions. Out of the 3.4 lakh mt of total coal reserve in the country, state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) owns blocks with combined reserves of 60,000 mt.
After receiving a good response from the investors in the first round of auction under the new commercial coal mining policy in November last year, the government has excluded mines falling in wildlife reserves and blocks in areas where there is more than 40% green cover to eliminate the fears regarding environmental norms.
This would also be the second round of coal auction through the new market-determined revenue share model that replaced the fixed fee/tonne regime that had earlier put off private investors.
The mines offered in the upcoming auction are located in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Coal mines currently under litigation or overlapping with active coal-bed methane blocks have also not been included in the latest list.
As we have reported, the government had identified 41 coal blocks for the first round of commercial auctions in November 2020. Aditya Birla’s EMIL was a major bidder, along with Jindal Steel and Power, Adani, Nalco, and others. After objections from Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, only 38 mines were put up for auction.
The first auction under the commercial coal mining policy saw aggressive bidding by indigenous firms, with the highest premium received was 66.8% while the average premium quoted was 29%.
Image: The government is hoping that auctions will bring in large investments despite a major renewable push.