The coal ministry held a roadshow in Ranchi to attract participation in commercial coal auctions. The proceedings for the eight and ninth rounds of commercial auctions are underway. 

The event, held on Tuesday in the capital of Jharkhand, which accounts for 32 per cent of India’s coal reserves, was led by Coal Secretary AL Meena and Additional Secretary M Nagaraju. Jharkhand’s Secretary (Mines) Aboobacker Siddique P and Coal India Chairman PM Prasad also attended.

Meena, who attended virtually, reiterated the ministry’s commitment to supporting the industry and the Centre’s assistance towards prospective bidders. 

He highlighted the highly profitable nature of the business, as seen from the coal mines that have commenced production under commercial auction.

Due dates

The ministry has concluded the auction of 91 coal mines in the first seven tranches. It has launched the auction process for 35 mines under the eighth round and four mines under the second attempt of the seventh round, after single bids were received in the first attempt on November 15, 2023. The bid due date is January 29, 2024.

Additionally, the ninth round for 27 mines and the second attempt of the seventh round for five blocks were been launched on December 20, 2023. The bid due date for the ninth round is February 19, 2024.

Investor-friendly moves

Nagaraju, who is the nominated authority, welcomed the attending potential investors and spelt out the reforms undertaken by the ministry to make the process more investor-friendly.

Coal India Chairman Prasad applauded the ministry’s efforts in successfully  auctioning 91 coal mines in a short span of time. He also welcomed the launch of the single-window clearance system and the project monitoring unit to help winning bidders embark on early operationalisation.

Ease of participation

The key features of the auction process include reduction in the upfront and bid security amount, permission to relinquish part of the mine in case of partially explored mines, introduction of a National Coal Index and National Lignite Index, ease of participation with no entry barriers, flexibility in utilisation, and rebate for performance security for underground mines, among others.

The auction will be held online through a transparent two-stage process, on the basis of percentage revenue share. 

SBI Capital Markets is the sole transaction advisor to the ministry for the commercial coal block auctions, and is also assisting in conducting the auctions.