New Delhi: The government has deferred online auction of the fifth tranche of coal mines for the steel sector and any further development will be intimated in due course.

“With reference to the fifth tranche of coal mines auction, bidders may kindly note that following events (e- auction for the qualified bidders scheduled between 7-14 July 2017) shall not take place as per the schedule," the office of nominated authority (coal ministry) said in a notice to the bidders.

Though the government has not cited any reasons for the action, officials said the auction was deferred as the bids from steel makers were not sufficient.

According to the notice, the demo e-auction would also not take place and further developments in this regard shall be intimated in due course.

A total of six coking coal blocks were to go under the hammer in the fifth round, five being in Jharkhand. The six coal mines are : Brahmadih, Choritand Tiliaya, Jogeshwar and Khas Jogeshwar, Rabodih OCP and Rohne in Jharkhand, and Urtan North in Madhya Pradesh.

In December 2015, the government annulled the fourth round of coal mine auctions planned for January 2016 on account of a poor response from bidders in sectors like steel as well as depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions.