The Coal Ministry said on Saturday that it has successfully auctioned 10 mines in five states in the latest round of coal auctions. While six mines were CMSP coal mines, the remaining four were MMDR coal mines. The combined coal reserves are estimated at 1,716.21 million tonnes (MT). The auction of coal mines for commercial mining under the 13th tranche of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) (CMSP) Act and third tranche of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act began on October 12 last year, the ministry said in a statement. “The total geological reserves for these mines are 1,716.211 MT. Nine coal mines are fully explored, while one mine is partially explored. The cumulative PRC (peak rate capacity) for these coal mines is 22.014 MT per annum (MTPA),” it added. So far, under the commercial coal mining auction process a total of 42 coal mines, including the above 10 coal mines auctioned in tranche-3, have been successfully auctioned with a total cumulative PRC of 86.404 MTPA, Coal Ministry said.

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The government had launched the actions for commercial coal mining in June 2020 under the CMSP Act and the MMDR Act.

Higher demand

The demand for coal is higher than the current level of domestic supply of coal in the country. The gap between demand and domestic supply of coal cannot be bridged completely as there is insufficient availability and reserve of prime coking coal in the country. Besides, coal imported by power plants designed on imported coal and high grade coal required for blending purposes is also imported in the country as this cannot be fully substituted by domestic coal as the country has limited reserves of high grade coal. In FY21, the pan-India coal demand stood at 905.88 MT against a supply of 690.89 MT and imports of 214.99 MT. Similarly in FY20, the demand was 955.72 MT, whereas, the supply and imports stood at 707.18 MT and 248.54 MT, respectively. To ease supply constraints, the ministry has also amended the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 for allowing sale of coal or lignite, on payment of additional amount, by the lessee of a captive mine up to 50 per cent of the total coal or lignite produced in a financial year, after meeting the requirement of the end use plant linked with the mine. Besides, state-run mining giant Coal India (CIL) has envisaged a coal production programme of more than one billion tonnes from its mines.