Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday launched the biggest-ever coal mine auction of 141 mines of 11 states in the country, saying that a fast growing economy like India needs greater investment in coal production and gasification projects. She said the auction would benefit 12 states directly.
The mines being auctioned are spread across coal/ lignite bearing states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.
Launching the sixth round of coal mine auction of the Coal Ministry in Delhi on Thursday, the finance minister said that India's coal imports for power sector has come down by 41 per cent.
According to a release by the Coal Ministry, Sitharaman said the Finance Ministry will be extending all help for coal gasification and incentives in commercial mining.
The Finance Ministry has extended Rs 6,000 crore incentive for coal gasification and Rs 250 crore for exploration process, Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said. He said the Coal Ministry is exploring alternative methodology for enhanced use of coal.
Joshi expresed the hope that 10 to 15 million ton coal will be produced from new mines by next year. As per the review done the other day, the Coal Ministry is anticipating 900 million ton coal production this year, he said.
Minister of State for Coal, Mines & Railways Raosaheb Patil Danve, Coal Secretary Amrit Lal Meena and Additional Secretary M Nagaraju also addressed the function.
According to the Coal Ministry, a total of 133 coal mines were put up for auction in the sixth round of commercial auctions, out of which 71 are new coal mines and 62 coal mines are rolling over from earlier tranches of commercial auctions.
Additionally, eight coal mines under the second attempt of the fifth round of commercial auctions were included for which single bids were received in the first attempt. With the launch of this auction tranche, the Ministry of Coal re-affirms its commitment to attain self-sufficiency in the area of thermal coal.
Mines falling under protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, critical habitats, having forest cover greater than 40 per cent, heavily built-up area etc have been excluded. The block boundaries of some of the coal mines where there was presence of dense habitation, high green cover or critical infrastructure etc. have been modified based on comments received during stakeholder consultations to enhance bidders’ interest and participation in these coal blocks.
Key features of the auction process include reduction in upfront amount and bid security amount, permission to relinquish part of the coal mine in case of partially explored coal mines, introduction of National Coal Index and National Lignite Index, ease of participation with no entry barriers, full flexibility in coal utilisation, optimized payment structures, incentives for early production, coal gasification and usage of clean coal technologies.
The commencement of sale of tender document will start from November 03, 2022. Details of the mines, auction terms, timelines etc. can be accessed on MSTC auction platform. The auction will be held online through a transparent two stage process, on the basis of Percentage Revenue Share. SBI Capital Markets Limited, the sole Transaction Advisor to Ministry of Coal for the commercial coal mine auctions, had devised the methodology and is assisting the Ministry of Coal in conducting the auction process, the ministry added in a PIB release.