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Centre launches auctions for second tranche of commercial coal mining

Friday, 26 Mar 2021
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The Centre has launched the second tranche of auction for commercial coal mining offering 67 mines for sale of coal. 
This is the highest number of mines on offer in a particular tranche of auction after commencement of the auction regime since 2014. Out of the total 67 mines offered by the Ministry of Coal, 23 mines are under CM (SP) Act and 44 under MMDR Act. 
The coal mines on offer are a mix of mines with small and large reserves, coking and non-coking mines and fully and partially explored mines spread across six states -- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Moreover, looking at the past success, the government is moving towards adopting a Rolling Auction mechanism for conducting future auctions. Coal is the first mineral resource where Rolling Auction mechanism is being implemented in which a pool of coal blocks will always remain available for auctions.
With rolling auctions, it will upload a comprehensive list of mines along with key technical data and bidders can submit their preferences for the mines to be included in the next tranche of auction.
This would be a continuous process and result in expediting the auction setup. Moreover, it will also help bidders in planning better and would further enhance transparency in the system.
Along with promoting commercial coal mining, the government is also looking at reforming the existing e-auction mechanism of Coal India and considering clubbing different e-auction windows of CIL into one. This will help in moving towards One Price for One Coal Grade. Selling coal at market-determined prices through one e-auction window would help in simplifying the system and promoting transparency.
In this tranche of auction, coal blocks have been selected in those areas where forest cover is low, coal quality is good, mines are close to infrastructure facilities and resettlement and rehabilitation has to be done at the minimum. More coking coal mines have been offered so that India’s import of coking coal can also be reduced. 
Notably, 19 mines were successfully auctioned in the first-ever tranche of commercial coal mining auctions held in 2020 with the premium quoted by the successful bidders ranging from 9.5 percent to 66.75 percent. The agreements between the Ministry of Coal and the successful bidders were signed in January 2021. 
States will fetch around Rs 7,000 crore of revenues from these auctions, considering production at peak rated capacity of 51 million tpa.
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