Coal mining: ECoS to discuss auction methodology

Commercial coal mining: Empowered Committee of Secretaries to discuss auction methodology

AFP/File photo

The Centre has set up an Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECoS) to deliberate on issues with regard to auction methodology and operationalisation of coal blocks allocated for commercial mining.

The development comes soon after the government stated that it may launch the process of auction of coal blocks for commercial mining on June 11.

"It has been decided with the approval of competent authority to set up an Empowered Committee of Secretaries to deliberate and decide/recommend on the certain matters pertaining to auction methodology and associated matters, issues in operationalisation of blocks allocated for sale of coal," according to an official memorandum of the coal ministry.

The four-member panel will have secretaries from departments of economic affairs and legal affairs, as well as ministries of coal, and petroleum and natural gas.

The empowered committee will also review the two-stage bidding process for successive rounds of auction.

"In case mine/mines remains unallocated in the auction tranches held hereinafter, the same would be placed before ECoS for appropriate reduction in the floor percentage of revenue share and other terms and conditions," the ministry said.

In case of single bid after successive rounds of auction for a coal mine, appropriate decision regarding allocation of mine will be taken by ECoS.

It will also review and determine the incentives that may be allowed for early production and coal gasification or liquefaction for successive tranches of auction.

The empowered panel will also "determine the limit of maximum number of coal mines or reserves or any other parameter regarding production of coal or any other combination thereof that can be allocated to a company or its affiliate, associate company, holding company or subsidiary company in subsequent tranches of auction."

It will also deliberate on the issues relating to operationalisation of the National Coal Index (NCI), including representative price, modalities for successive tranches and make changes in efficiency parameters including flexibility given in production as per requirement looking at the ground conditions for successive tranches of auction.

The empowered committee has also been mandated to revise ceiling of upfront amount for future tranches of auction in case there is substantial upward/ downward change in market conditions.

Around 50 coal blocks are likely to be auctioned for commercial mining.

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