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Govt launches next tranche of the auction of coal mines

The Ministry of Coal on Tuesday launched the auction process of 40 new coal mines.

New Delhi [India], October 12 : After the successful auction of 28 coal mines in the first two tranches. With coal mines rolling over from the previous tranche, there shall be a total of 88 coal mines on offer. Total geological resources of about 55 billion tonnes of coal are on offer from these 88 mines, of which 57 are fully explored mines and 31 are partially explored mines. There are 4 coking coal mines on offer. Mines are spread across 10 coal-bearing states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam.
From this tranche onwards, the Ministry of Coal has introduced provisions in the Agreement related to sustainable mining operations, including mine closure; Mechanised evacuation of coal; and Surrender of a coal mine by successful bidder upon encountering difficult mining conditions.
The list of mines has been finalized post detailed deliberations and mines falling under protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, critical habitats, having forest cover greater than 40 percent, heavily built-up area, etc. have been excluded.
Key features of the auction process include the introduction of the National Coal Index, ease in participation with no restriction for prior coal mining experience, full flexibility in coal utilization, optimized payment structures, efficiency promotion through incentives for early production, and use of clean coal technology. Further incentives are being contemplated by the Ministry of Coal with a focus on sustainability.
Addressing the function, Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi stressed that the Ministry of Coal and the Government of India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is on a continuous journey to reform the coal sector and unlock values for the nation’s economy.
Minister Shri Joshi threw light on the energy consumption pattern of the country and how the demand for power has increased by around 20 percent compared to pre-COVID-19 times. The Minister emphasized that India is currently one of the lowest in terms of per capita consumption of power as compared to the developed countries and that the power demand of the country is expected to be doubled by the year 2040 owing to the major steps taken by the Government in connecting the remotest of the places with power and reiterated that the coal will continue to play a major part in the energy mix of the country for next 35-40 years.
The Minister also announced that the earlier rebate of 20 per cent on the final offer on sale or consumption of coal for coal gasification/liquefaction, may be increased. The Minister also informed that discussions are in progress for incentives for the coking coal blocks. These steps will help in increasing the participation of prospective bidders.
On the occasion, Minister of State for Coal, Mines, and Railways, Raosaheb Patel Danve, stressed that the coal sector is going to play a major role in realizing the vision of a 5 trillion-dollar Indian economy.
The Minister emphasized that a lot of steps have been taken by the Ministry of Coal for enhancing the production of coal like the introduction of commercial mining, reduction in payments by the bidders, removal of the eligibility criteria for participation in the coal block auctions thereby ensuring maximum participation from the bidders which will lead to the enhanced production of coal. He laid stress on the recent policy amendments allowing the captive miners to sell up to 50 percent of the annual production of coal.
Addressing the gathering, the Secretary of, Ministry of Coal, informed that the prices of imported coal have increased two to three-time and it paved the way for utilizing more domestic coal thereby reducing the imports. This has been possible due to the various initiatives taken by the Ministry of Coal like allowing commercial mining, allowing enhanced production over and above the production as per the mining plan, providing incentives to the bidders, reduction in payments, allowing captive miners to sell coal, etc. These steps have ensured that dependence on coal imports is reduced and that domestic production is increased to meet the coal demand of the country.
Earlier, welcoming the guests and potential bidders, the Additional Secretary and Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal, M Nagaraju emphasized the need of augmenting domestic coal production, considering the rise in international coal and oil prices, and that potential investors may secure a coal mine for themselves.
The commencement of the sale of the tender document shall start from 12th October 2021. Details of the mines, auction terms, timelines. can be accessed on the MSTC auction platform. The auction shall be held online through a transparent 2 stage process, on the basis of Percentage Revenue Share. This round of auction will be the 13th Tranche of auction under the CMSP Act and the 3rd Tranche of auction under the MMDR Act.
SBI Capital Markets Limited, sole Transaction Advisor to the Ministry of Coal for the commercial coal mine auction, had devised the methodology and is assisting the Ministry of Coal in the conduct of the auction.
A total of 88 coal mines with a cumulative PRC of 282 MT are on offer of which 35 coal mines are under the 13th Tranche of auction under the CMSP Act and 53 coal mines are under the 3rd Tranche of auction under the MMDR Act. Out of these 88 coal mines, 40 are new coal mines whereas the remaining 48 coal mines are rolling over mines from the earlier round of auctions. The mines on offer are having 57 fully explored while 31 partially explored coal mines. The list also includes 4 coking coal mines. These mines will help in generating Rs. 29,240 crores of annual revenue at PRC. It will also facilitate a capital investment of Rs. 42,304 crores for operationalizing the coal mines and will provide employment to 3.81 lakh people.

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