Fourth round of coal mine auctions cancelled

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

High CIL output, falling prices keep bidding response muted for the nine blocks

Low bidding interest, increased coal availability and falling global prices have led to the Coal Ministry annulling the fourth round of auctions, in which nine mines would have gone under the hammer.

The blocks on offer had 1.167-billion tonnes of estimated extractable reserves. The move came a day before the deadline for submission of the technical bids. However, the sale of tender documents had ended on December 28.

The e-auction was to have begun on January 18.

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup confirmed that sufficient bids had not been received. “The phenomenal rise in production by Coal India (CIL) has led to the price realisation in e-auctions coming down. International prices have also softened by 40 per cent,” Swarup told BusinessLine.

Between April and November, CIL produced 321.38 million tonnes — 8.8 per cent more than the same period last year.

Earlier, the Ministry had pulled out mines from the auction pool after evaluating the technical bids. For example, in the third round of auctions held in August ,10 mines were to be sold, but only three were auctioned due to lack of bids in some cases and litigation in others.

In the previous three rounds, the government sold 28 acreages with estimated extractable reserves of 1.307 billion tonnes. The auction proceeds are over ₹2-lakh crore, which will accrue to States in the form of royalties and monthly payments, over the mine life of 30 years.

Published on December 30, 2015

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