The 100 closed Coal India Ltd ( CIL) mines, the coal ministry has proposed offering for resumption of operation will be kept under the ownership of the PSU miner itself, though offered for production via an auction bidding route.
” The ownership of the mines will be retained by Coal India only. It will be in the model of mine developer and operator (MDO) that coal will be mined under revenue sharing basis. There will be no transfer of ownership of mines,” a senior CIL executive told Fe adding the entire idea is to add more coal to the country’s energy basket and extract the reserves to its fullest. This would also fetch revenue to CIL from assets lying ideal.
CIL had closed down certain mines over the years for reasons like surface constraints, financial unviability, political unrest and others though there were extractable reserves remaining. CIL’s panning and designing arm, Central Mine Planning and Design Institute ( CMPDI) has been engaged to identify such mines with a mandate that only such mines would be put on offer to MDOs with mining life of at least 10-15 years.
While CMPDIL was in the process of identifying such mines, extractable reserves would only be estimated when the mines are put on auction in phases for engagement of MDOs. The ministry has not yet fixed any time line as to when the first phase of auction would be rolled out for selecting MDOs, a senior CMPDIL executive said.
He said a model document has been prepared for offering such mines to which many a stake holders agreed including private sector power biggies like the Tatas, Reliance and the Adanis. For CIL operating such mines alone wouldn’t be financially viable for the high wages it has to pay out. Private sector has an inherent commercial advantage both in terms of pay out and productivity. It can employ funds to bring in advanced technology to extract coal from deeper seams,” the CMPDIL executive said. Technological advancement has prompted the government to take such a view giving leverage to commercial mining and making more coal available in the open market, he added.
However, prior to the decision of offering 100 discontinued mines, CIL decided to resume operations of 12 discontinued under ground (UG)mines with provisional mineable reserve of around 1060 Million Tonnes (MTs). Of these 12 UG mines, 8 belong to Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) and the remaining 4 fall under Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), spread over the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand.
These mines too are likely to be listed among the 100 mines that are to be offered, the CIL executive said.