NEW DELHI: India’ second tranche of commercial coal mine auctions has gained traction, with at least 50 mine specific tender documents purchased by prospective bidders, the Union coal ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

India has the world’s fourth largest reserves and is the second-largest producer of coal. With global shift to green energy to address growing environmental concerns, the Indian government is trying to harness coal reserves within the next three decades.

“The nominated authority, ministry of coal, launched the auction process for coal mines under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act earmarked for sale of coal on March 25, 2021,” the statement said.

India has listed 67 mines in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh for the second tranche of commercial coal mine auctions.

“The response to this auction tranche, till now, has been tremendous which is reflected in around 50 mine specific tender documents being purchased by the bidders till date while many other prospective bidders are in the process of registration and purchase of the tender documents from the auction portal,” the statement added.

This comes at a time when the global window for future coal mining is getting shorter. India’s coal requirement is expected to go up to 1,123 million tonnes (mt) by 2023 from the present level of 700 mt.

“This is the second tranche of auction of coal mines for Sale of Coal which paves way for liberalisation of Indian coal sector enhancing efficiency, competition and private sector participation leading to development of a vibrant coal market, boosting economic growth and employment generation,” the statement said.

The two-stage auction process allows bidders to quote the percentage revenue share over the reserve price. Besides there will be no restriction on the sale and utilization of coal from the mines. Earlier, blocks were allocated to companies on payment of fixed amounts per tonne.

“The bid submission date has been extended to enable interested parties to travel to mine locations for inspection once the lockdown conditions are removed in different states of India,” the statement added.

India also seeks to further liberalize its coal mining regime to ensure greater participation of all stakeholders, by allowing bidders to submit preferences for future mine auctions. Besides, as part of the Centre’s plan to usher in structural reforms in the coal sector, state-run Coal India Ltd is looking to merge e-auction windows to move toward a ‘one price for one coal grade’ system.

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