New Delhi: The Ministry of Coal has initiated the process for the next tranche of commercial coal mine auction as it has released a notice inviting interest for 64 coal mines. "Ministry of Coal has initiated the process for next tranche of auction of coal mines for sale of coal under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. There shall be no restriction on the sale and/ or utilisation of coal produced from the coal mine and the Successful Bidder shall be free to sell coal in any manner," said the ministry in the notice.
The government has sought mine-specific feedback or query from potential investors and other stakeholders and has asked them to indicate their preference for the mines to be considered for auction by 5 pm, February 24.
The tentative list of coal mines which has been released by the Ministry includes 16 mines in Jharkhand, 14 in Odisha, 12 in Chhattisgarh, nine in Madhya Pradesh, six in Maharashtra, five in West Bengal and two in Andhra Pradesh. The list includes explored, partly explored and regionally explored coal mines.
The Ministry said that the tentative list for the next tranche of commercial coal mine auction has been prepared after excluding coal mines that fall under un-notified Lemru Elephant Reserve of Chhattisgarh, wildlife habitat of Great Indian Bustard, Kinnersani ESZ, Tiger Reserve/Corridor, heavily built up area, mines with over 40 percent of green cover, mines with ongoing exploration activities or having overlap with active CBM blocks and mines that are presently under litigation.
The latest tranche of commercial coal mine auction comes months after the government awarded 19 coal mines to the private sector in November 2020. The Centre amended the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, in May 2020 to simplify the auction process and attract investors to the sector. The amendment removed the requirement for miners to use coal only for captive purposes and allowed commercial mining and unrestricted sale of coal by private players. The step is aimed at raising the domestic production of coal in order to cut India's dependence on imports.
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