After the government directed the nominated authority (NA) to re-examine the auction process for four mines, the latter will refrain from signing agreements with the winners of these mines till after the report is received from it.
As per the auction calender, the nominated authority, headed by a joint secretary from the coal ministry and in-charge of e-auctions, is to sign agreements with successful bidders on Monday.
Meanwhile, the government has withdrawn five mines from the schedule III list, citing lack of requisite number of bidders for four of them.
These mines include Durgapur II, Dongri Tal II, Kosar Dongergaon, Marki Mangli IV. The fifth mine to be taken off the bidding list is Rohne as it had faced objection from the steel ministry regarding its end-use. The auction process for the mines is scheduled take place between March 4 and 8.
The number of mines to be auctioned from among the original 20 blocks has now dwindled to 14 following the current withdrawals as Utkal B1& Utkal B2 block, previously held by Jindal Steel and Power, had already been pulled out following a direction from the Delhi High Court which had asked the government to reconsider change in end-use of these blocks from steel to power.
On the re-examination of auctioned coal blocks, the government had written to the NA to clarify some aspects of the bidding for mines which included those that had been bagged at the lowest prices in both the power and unregulated sectors.
“The government has asked us for clarifications in case of some mines. The re-examination of certain trends is a robust method for the auction process. However, we will not be signing the agreement with the winner of these block till after our re-examination,” Vivek Bhardwaj, from the nominated authority for e-auctions, told FE.
The blocks in question are Gare Palma IV/1, Gare Palma IV 2&3 and Marki Mangli III. Balco had bagged Gare Palma IV/1 block with a bid of Rs 1,585/tonne; Jindal Power, a subsidiary of Jindal Steel and Power, had retained its previously held blocks Gare Palma IV 2 & 3 at Rs108/tonne.
Its winning bid was the lowest among blocks earmarked for the power sector, which ranged from Rs108/tonne to Rs 1,110/tonne.
Similarly, the Marki Mangli III block won by BS Ispat had the lowest winning bid price of Rs 918/tonne among the blocks reserved for the unregulated sector, which ranged from Rs 918/tonne to Rs3,502/tonne.
Gare Palma IV/2&3 is the biggest block among those reserved for the power sector with extractable reserves of 155.49 million tonne (mt) while Gare Palma IV/1 and Marki Mangli III have extractable reserves of 49.57 mt and 3.58 mt, respectively.
These four mines are among the 19 operational blocks the government auctioned in the first phase of the e-auction. The next phase will see 20 near-operational mines being auctioned next week.