JSW Steel to lose coal mining licence

JSW Steel, promoted by businessman Sajjan Jindal, is likely to lose its mining licence for a coal block held jointly with Himachal EMTA, for having failed to develop the Gourangdih ABC block in time.

An inter-ministerial group (IMG) has recommended forfeiting of the bank guarantees of the two companies. The ministerial panel reviewed the performance of seven coal blocks and recommended cancellation of one allotment.

The coal block was allotted to the two companies in 2009, but they had not started production within the stipulated time frame. Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has to now take the final decision.

The IMG, however, did not recommend any action against the coal blocks owned by Tata Steel and Reliance Power. The ministerial group is also believed to have recommended the encashment of a bank guarantee of Wani Coalfields for slippages in the development of a block in Maharashtra.

On Thursday, the government de-allocated four coal blocks allocated to smaller companies and also encashed the bank guarantee of one of the firms on the recommendations of the IMG.

The blocks that were cancelled included Bramhadih in Jharkhand which was allocated to Castron Mining Ltd; Chinora and Warora (southern part) blocks in Maharashtra, allocated to Field Mining and Ispat Ltd; Lalgarh (north) block in Jharkhand allotted to Domco Smokeless Fuels Pvt. Ltd.