Commercial mining: Govt extends deadlines for coal auction; here are the new dates

  • According to the revised schedule, the auction will take place in October and the final winners will be declared in November

  • The last date for the submission of queries by bidders has been extended to September 11

New Delhi: In the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, the Centre has extended the deadlines for the auction of coal blocks for commercial mining on the basis of requests received from bidders. According to a notification posted on the e-commerce portal of MSTC Limited — which is conducting the coal auction — the auction will take place in October and the final winners will be declared in November. The last date for the submission of queries by bidders has been extended to September 11. 

The deadlines for the various processes under the auction, like the sale of tender documents and submission of technical bids, have also been extended in accordance with the last date.

Coal auction for commercial mining: The new dates

According to the updated schedule for the tender process, the last date for receiving requests for site visit from bidders has been extended to September 18, the last date for responding to queries posed by bidders has been extended to September 21, the last date for registration of bidders on the MSTC website is September 22, and the last date for the sale of tender documents is September 25. The technical bids open on September 30 and the last date for the examination of technical bids is October 16.

The e-auction for qualified bidders will be conducted from October 19 to November 9 and the names of the winners for the auction are to be announced on November 11. The revised schedule also said that the timeline is based on the assumption that the e-auction round for each mine will be completed in one day. “In the event that electronic auction round of any mine continues beyond one day, time schedule for the remaining events shall be extended,” the notification said.

The backdrop

The auction will take place in two parts — technical and financial. The technical bids will be evaluated by a joint secretary-level official from the Ministry of Coal. The government had started the process for the auction of coal mines for commercial mining in June this year after amending the Coal Mines Special Provisions Act, 2015 in May. The terms of the bidding process were liberalised in order to attract foreign and domestic players. However, the Centre has last week also placed restrictions on the entry of countries that share land borders with India, like China, even though it had earlier allowed 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through the automatic route for coal mining.

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