Adani, Vedanta, JSPL & Dilip Buildcon Among Bidders for 23 Coal Mines;
COAL & MINING

Adani, Vedanta, JSPL & Dilip Buildcon Among Bidders for 23 Coal Mines;

Of the 38 mines offered for auction, the Ministry of Coal received a total of 76 eligible bids for 23. The technical bids comprising online and offline bid documents as part of the auction were opened at 10.00 am on September 30. This was done in t...

Of the 38 mines offered for auction, the Ministry of Coal received a total of 76 eligible bids for 23. The technical bids comprising online and offline bid documents as part of the auction were opened at 10.00 am on September 30. This was done in the presence of bidders who were given the option of joining the meeting either in-person or virtually. The Ministry of Coal had launched the auction process for the sale of coal on June 18. The bids had to be submitted by 2.00 pm on September 29. “The online bids were decrypted and opened electronically in the presence of the bidders. Subsequently, sealed envelopes containing offline bid documents were also opened in the presence of bidders. The entire process was displayed on the screen for the bidders. A total of 76 bids have been received for 23 coal mines. Two or more bids have been received for 19 coal mines,” the ministry said in an official statement. Notable bidders include The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp. Ltd (APMDC), Adani Power and Resources Ltd, Adani Enterprises Ltd, Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd (BALCO), Dilip Buildcon Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), JSW Steel Ltd, National Aluminium Co. Ltd (NALCO), Sunflag Iron & Steel Ltd, Vedanta Ltd and Welspun Steel Ltd. Adani Enterprises Ltd submitted the largest number of bids (7), followed by Hindalco Industries Ltd and JMS Mining Pvt. Ltd (5 each), Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp. Ltd, Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd and EMIL Mines & Mineral Resources Ltd (4 each), and Sarda Energy & Mineral Ltd, Stratatech Mineral Resources Pvt. Ltd and Vedanta Ltd (3 each). The largest number of bids, eight, were received for Gare Palma IV/7, Gotitoria (East) and Gotitoria (West) blocks while six bids each were received for Brahmadiha and Urma Paharitola blocks. Four bids each were received for Gondulpara, Radhikapur (East), Radhikapur (West), Rajhara North (Central & Eastern), Sahapur (East) and Sahapur (West) blocks. Three bids each were received for Bandha, Chakla, Gare Palma (IV/1), Marki Mangli-II and Urtan North. “The bids will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary technical evaluation committee and technically qualified bidders would be shortlisted for participation in the electronic auction to be conducted on MSTC Ltd’s portal from October 19, 2020,” a coal ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi. Meanwhile, the present round of coal auctions has been widely welcomed as it is expected to drive efficiencies and make the pricing of the commodity more competitive. Speaking to CW GOLD, Satnam Singh, Director Energy, CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory said, “There will likely be several benefits of commercial coal mining. Private investments in coal mining are likely to increase in the absence of any restrictions in end-use; imports of coal will come down as production from these blocks comes on-stream. The quality of coal will improve as commercial miners can undertake selective mining and blending through proper planning and operations.” According to Singh, new benchmarks for efficiency will be established and the increase in production in the long-term will make coal pricing more competitive. High Import Coal Bill Although India has the world’s fourth-largest coal reserves it still incurs a substantial bill on imports. In FY2018-19, the country imported nearly 235 million tonnes (MT) of coal, of which around 135 MT valued at Rs 1.71 trillion could have been met from the domestic supply. Launching the coal blocks auction process in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked rhetorically, “Give it a thought. The nation with the fourth largest coal reserves in the world; the second-largest producer in the world; that nation is not a coal exporter, but the second-largest coal importer in the world! The question is when we are one of the largest producers in the world, why can’t we be the largest exporter.” Kameswara Rao, Leader Energy, Utilities and Mining, PwC India opined, “The policy certainly recognises the importance of energy in our economic growth and the government has initiated a few measures to support implementation. The scheme provides incentives and institutional support to expedite mine development and production. The stakeholder consultation may address some current hurdles in, say, land acquisition, stamp duty or transport connectivity that may allow speedier development.” Rao felt that the current auction was a big step towards the commercialisation of the sector. A more competitive market would need further work, such as setting up an exchange and unwinding of past contracts, which may come gradually over an extended period. Development of a robust mining and minerals sector is, therefore, an important part of Prime Minister Modi’s push towards self-reliance through the Central Government’s flagship Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The Ministry of Coal has also indicated that it will end the import of substitutable coal in the next three to four years.

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