Focus shifts to SC as Mahan block wins MoEF stage-2 nod

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 14 2014, 11:28am hrs
While the ministry of environment and forests on Thursday gave the Mahan coal block in Madhya Pradeshs Singrauli fields a final clearance (stage II), allottees of the block the London-listed Essar Energy and Hindalco remained apprehensive ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on a possible deallocation, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The Mahan block was among those listed by an inter-ministerial group for de-allocation on grounds of the alleged opaque manner in which it was allocated in 2006 but will now likely be removed from the list. The block is estimated to have reserves of 150 million tonnes.

Mahans coal reserves will feed Essar Energys 1,200-MW power plant, the first phase of which is up and running and a Hindalco power unit that will supply its aluminium smelter.

We understand that the stage 2 clearance has been granted but there are few more approvals that we need, Hindalco MD Debu Bhattacharya told newspersons in Mumbai. The Supreme Court has reserved its judgment for March 10 and the fate of the block will be decided then, a senior company executive said, adding the company was optimistic since all procedures had been followed.

Other business groups, the fate of whose coal blocks hang in balance are Tata Power, Reliance Power and Jindal Steel and Power.

The annual statement of Mahan Coal, a 50:50 joint venture, submitted in mid-2013, stated that a sum of Rs 53 crore had been deployed and that the company had created fixed assets of Rs 21.5 crore and the capital work in progress was Rs 25.4 crore.

The coal block is expected to yield 8 million tonnes of coal annually; the output will be shared by Hindalco and Essar in the ratio of 40:60.