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New Delhi: A total of 34 bids have been received for 19 of the 67 coal mines in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh that have been offered in the second tranche of India’s commercial coal mine auctions.

This comes at a time when the global window for future coal mining is getting shorter with a shift towards meeting environment, sustainability, and governance (ESG) compliance.

The maximum number of four bids have been submitted by Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. Some of the other bidders are Vedanta Ltd, Adani Power, Adhunik Power and Natural Resources Ltd, Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd, Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation Ltd, and Rungta Mines Ltd.

The first tranche of commercial coal mine auctions saw 19 coal mines with a rated production capacity of 51 million tonnes annually won by successful bidders such as Vedanta Ltd, Adani Enterprises Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd and Hindalco Industries Ltd.

“A total of 34 (thirty-four) bids have been received for 19 (nineteen) coal mines of which 10 (ten) are fully explored mines and 9 (nine) are partially explored mines. 4 (four) of these mines are coking coal mines and the remaining 15 (fifteen) mines are non-coking coal mines. Two or more bids have been received for 8 (eight) coal mines," the union coal ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The two-stage auction process will allow bidders to quote the percentage revenue share over the reserve price. Besides, there will be no restriction on the sale and utilization of coal from the mines. Earlier, blocks were allocated to companies on payment of fixed amounts per tonne.

“The bids will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary Technical Evaluation Committee and Technically Qualified Bidders would be shortlisted for participation in the electronic auction to be conducted on MSTC portal," the statement said.

The 67 mines being auctioned have a total resource base of 36 billion tonnes of fossil fuel, with the second tranche expected to be India’s largest-ever coal mine auction. Around 50 mine-specific tender documents were purchased by prospective bidders.

“The auction process of 67 coal mines for sale of coal was launched by the Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal on March 25, 2021. The last date of submission of Technical Bid was July 08, 2021. As part of the auction process, Technical Bids comprising of online and offline bid documents were opened today i.e. July 09, 2021, 10:00 am onwards at New Delhi, in the presence of the bidders," the statement said.

India has offered 116 coal mines for auction over the last 10 tranches. A total of 19 coal mines spread across Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra were auctioned in India’s first commercial coal mine auctions, with the winning bids quoting a 27% average revenue share or premium over and above the floor price for them. The highest premium bid was of 66.75%.

The country’s coal requirement is expected to go up to 1,123 million tonnes (mt) by 2023 from the present level of 700 mt. India has the world’s fourth largest reserves and is the second-largest producer of coal. With global shift to green energy to address growing environmental concerns, the Indian government is trying to harness coal reserves within the next three decades.

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