Govt to auction 8 coal mines to steel, cement and power sector units in fourth round

The coal ministry has announced that the fourth round of e-auctions of coal mines will take place between 18 and 22 January and that the government will offer eight mines with a combined production capacity of 12.86 million tonnes and geological reserves of 1.14 billion tonnes for sale to private sector entities in the unregulated sectors of iron and steel, cement, and captive power plants.

These will be leased to non-regulated sector, including iron and steel, cement and captive power plants. Directions have been issued to the nominated authority for conduct of the auctions. This was announced by coal secretary Anil Swarup at a press conference in New Delhi today.

These include the Brahampuri mine in Madhya Pradesh, which is already explored and is estimated to have coal reserves of 102.49 million tonnes; Bundu, in Jharkhand (explored and is estimated to have reserves of 102.27 million tonnes); Gondkhari, in Maharashtra (explored -98.72 million tonnes); Gondulpara, in Jharkhand (explored -176.33 million tonnes); Jaganathpur A, in West Bengal (explored - 267.33 million tonnes); Jaganathpur B, in West Bengal (explored - 169.57 million tonnes); Khappa and its extension, in Maharashtra (explored - 84.72 million tonnes); Suliyari, in Madhya Pradesh (partially explored - 142 million tonnes), with a combined geological reserves of 1,143.42 million tonnes and production capacity of 12.86 million tonnes.

Giving timelines Swarup said the notice inviting tender (NIT) will be issued on 20 November 2015 and the sale of tender will commence on 20 November 2015.

Of the 34 mines that were auctioned in the previous rounds, which were already producing, mining leases have been given to 29 mine owners, he said.

Due date for submission of bids is 31 December 2015. The e-auctions for these mines will be held from 18 January 2016 to 22 January 2016 and the vesting order by the nominated authority to the successful bidder will be issued by 10 March 2016.

''Commencement of sale of tender document will start from December 31 while the vesting order by the nominated authority to successful bidders will be issued by March 10,'' the Secretary said.

He said that mining leases for the remaining mines would also be issued soon.

The government has already mobilised over Rs3,00,000 crore in the first three rounds of coal auction and allotment.

The Supreme Court had, in September last year, cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.

The cal secretary said Coal India is ''well on way of achieving 550 million tonne coal production target'' for the current fiscal and has crossed the 300-million tonne output mark this week.