Response to commercial coal mine auction tranche II very good: Additional Coal Secretary

  • The government is offering 67 coal blocks in the second tranche, making this the biggest commercial auction of coal mines in the country
  • This is the best period to make investments and book profits in the next 20-30 years, said Vinod Kumar Tiwari, Additional Coal Secretary

New Delhi: Additional Secretary of Coal M Nagaraju said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the tranche II of commercial coal mine auction has received a “very good” response so far from the industry. He added that the government is auctioning 36 billion tonnes (BT) of coal reserves in tranche II of commercial coal mine auction and is expecting a very good response on both coking and non-coking coal mines. The government is offering 67 coal blocks in the second tranche, making this the biggest commercial auction of coal mines in the country.

“Out of the 67 coal blocks, 6 are coking coal blocks, 61 are non-coking coal blocks, 30 are partially explored and 37 are fully explored coal blocks. We are auctioning 36 billion tonnes of reserves by the end of this month and expecting a very good response from the industry both on coking and non-coking coal blocks. This will also reduce India’s dependence on imports,” said Nagaraju.

‘Commercial mining will bring development to backward regions’

Addressing the virtual 2nd Stakeholders’ Consultation on 2nd Tranche of Auction of Coal Mines for Commercial Mining, organised by the Ministry of Coal, jointly with FICCI as the industry partner, Nagaraju said, “Despite the pandemic, the response from the industry so far has been very good. It is important for the country and us to ensure that the natural resources available in the country are fully utilised and extracted. Most of the reserves are located in the backward regions of India and the development of these coal blocks will provide these people with good livelihood.” 

Nagaraju also stated that this is the right time for us to extract the coal available in the country. “We are partnering with the private sector to boost this sector. The whole process is very transparent, and the National Coal Index captures the market prices of coal in the country,” he highlighted.

Emphasising on the steps taken by the government to improve the sector, Nagaraju said that the government has already set up a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) unit, launched single window system for approval of mines plan, integration with ‘Parivesh’ portal of MoEF&CC and is strongly monitoring operationalisation of coal mines. “The government will be standing with the industry in every step,” he noted.

Commercial coal mine auction: ‘Most attractive coal blocks on offer’

Vinod Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal, said that the ministry has made huge efforts to shortlist coal blocks for the auctions and have focussed on ease of approvals and early operationalisation as one of the factors.

“The Ministry has also changed the methodology for ensuring greater participation and has offered coal blocks which are ecologically and economically sustainable,” added Tiwari.

Highlighting that the most attractive coal blocks are on offer, he mentioned that the investments in coal mines are going to be totally safe and prices of coal will continue to stay attractive due to the huge demand for coal. “This is the best period to make investments and book profits in the next 20-30 years,” added Tiwari.

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Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, said that the opening up of the coal sector will help in fulfilling the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, and will help several economic sectors, especially power, steel and aluminium.

The stakeholders’ consultation was also attended by Bhabani Prasad Pati, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Santosh, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Coal, Manoj Kumar, CMD, CMPDIL & WCL, Anandji Prasad, GM, CMPDIL, and representatives from SBICAPS.

The backdrop

The second tranche auction process was formally launched by Union Minister of Coal Pralhad Joshi and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on March 25. Following up with the pre-bid meeting held on April 26, the ministry of coal is organising a series of two stakeholder consultations under the aegis of FICCI for wider outreach to potential bidders. SBI Capital Markets Limited, a subsidiary of State Bank of India, is the Transaction Advisor to the nominated authority for the auction process.

In tranche I of commercial coal mine auction, 19 mines were successfully auctioned to private sector players.

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