The government today kick-started the process of online auction for eight blocks in the fourth round for sectors like steel, cement and iron.
The government has already mobilised over Rs 3 lakh crore in the first three rounds of coal auction and allotment.
“It has been decided to auction eight Schedule III coal mines earmarked for non-regulated sectors like, iron and steel, cement and captive power plants in the fourth tranche. The e-auction for these mines will be held from January 18 to January 22, 2016,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said addressing the media here.
Directions have been issued to the nominated authority for auctions, Joint Secretary, Coal, Vivek Bhardwaj, to conduct the auction, and the notice inviting tenders will be issued tomorrow, Swarup said.
“Commencement of sale of tender document will start from December 31 while the vesting order by the nominated authority to successful bidders will be issued by March 10,” the Secretary said.
The coal blocks to be put under the hammer include Brahmapuri and Suliyari in Madhya Pradesh, Bundu and Gondulpura in Jharkhand, Gondkhari and Khappa & Extn in Maharashtra and Jaganathpur A and Jaganathpur B in West Bengal.
These mines together have reserves totaling 1,143.42 million tonnes (MT) and their peak rated capacity stands at 12.86 mt.
Asked how much the government plans to raise from this fresh round of auction, the Secretary said the same depends on the response from bidders.
Swarup said 34 blocks had been allocated or auctioned under Schedule II (either producing or likely to produce mines), of which one is under litigation and seven of them have recorded over 5-MT output.
The rest, he said, are likely to start production as soon as all issues concerning clearances, stamp duty etc have been addressed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviews their progress. Vesting orders have been issued to successful bidders and mining leases have been granted in 29 cases while the remaining four will be given the same soon.
In the third phase of auction in August, the government had to be content with proceeds of just Rs 4,364 crore as legal and other issues forced it to put only three out of the proposed 10 mines on the block.
The Supreme Court in September last year had cancelled allocation of 204 coal mines to companies without auction.
The Secretary said Coal India is “well on way of achieving 550 million tonne coal production target” for the current fiscal and has crossed the 300-MT output mark this week.