Will India witness better traction in new round of coal mine auction?

Despite sluggish demand for coal blocks in the previous rounds of auction, the Centre is expecting a good response from the current tranche of offering. The government is currently carrying out the process for the third tranche of coal block auctions. December 9 was the last date to buy bid documents.

The Centre had, in October, said it would offer 88 mines with a geological reserve of about 55 billion tonnes and an annual peak rated capacity of 282 million tonnes. The auction is scheduled to be held between January 7 and 20 in 2022.

At least 48 coal mines in the list are “rollover” blocks that could not find bidders in the previous two rounds of auction. The government had offered 67 blocks under the second round of auction in August for commercial mining, and of which, only eight were put up for the final bidding.

“The future of coal block demand will be better. The government has received interest for 18 mines from two prospective bidders,” Coal secretary A K Jain said at an e-conclave on minerals organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At least 19 of the 38 mines offered in the first round in November last year under the commercial coal mining policy could be auctioned.

The government was also trying to make blocks remunerative for investors. Companies, which will win coal blocks in the forthcoming auctions for commercial mining, will be eligible to get as much as 50 per cent discount as against 20 per cent on the revenue-share quoted by them during the bidding process if they earmark at least 10 per cent of the fuel output for coal gasification or liquefaction projects. Jain said the government is committed to net-zero emissions and hoped that it would come out with an agenda soon.

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