Government to begin auction process of 41 coal mines for commercial mining on Thursday

Last Updated : 17 June 2020, 17:13 IST

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In line with the Prime Minister's self-reliance call, the coal ministry will on Thursday launch the auction process of 41 blocks for commercial mining with an aim to achieve self-sufficiency in meeting energy needs and boost industrial development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the launch event through video conferencing and outline his vision to achieve self-reliance in the mining sector.

The commercial mining of these coal blocks is expected to generate approximately Rs 33,000 crore of capital investment in the country over the next five to seven years, the coal ministry said in a statement.

These blocks will contribute Rs 20,000 crore revenues annually to the state governments, it added.

The ministry said that the commencement of this auction process of coal mines is part of the series of announcements made under the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan'.

"Prime Minister will grace the occasion by delivering an address during the launch of the auction process outlining his vision for the country to achieve 'atmanirbharata' in mining sector which is the key source of input for many basic industries like power, steel, aluminium, sponge iron etc," the statement said.

Coal and mines minister Pralhad Joshi will also be present during the launch event.

"With a view to achieve 'atmanirbharata' in the coal sector, the Ministry of Coal in association with FICCI is launching the process for auction of 41 coal mines under the provisions of CM (SP) Act and MMDR Act," it said.

Upon attainment of peak rated capacity of production of 225 million tonnes (MT), the government said, these mines will contribute about 15 per cent of the country’s projected total coal production in 2025-26.

It will also lead to employment generation for more than 2.8 lakhs people -- direct employment to approximately 70,000 people and indirect employment to approximately 2,10,000 people, as per the statement.

"This auction process marks the beginning of opening of Indian coal sector for commercial mining. It will enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in meeting its energy needs and boost industrial development," it said.

This landmark step is expected to boost private participation which will increase production, induce competition, enhance productivity by facilitating use of latest equipment, technology and services through higher investments, pave way for sustainable mining and creation of avenues for more employment generation in the backward regions of the country, it said. With the launch of commercial mining, the ministry said India has unlocked the coal sector fully with opportunities for investors related to mining, power and clean coal sectors. A two-stage electronic auction process is being adopted for allocation of the coal mines, the statement said, adding that commercial mining will "result in self-reliance with substitution of imports by independent thermal power plants and captive power plants resulting in saving of foreign currency". Moreover, it will also give a boost to the regulated and non-regulated sector by ensuring sustained coal stocks for industries with greater reliability, the coal ministry said.

Ficci President Sangeetha Reddy, Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Anil Agarwal, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekharan will also address the launch event.

The event will be web telecast live and is expected to be attended by eminent industrialists, businessmen, banking professionals, mining industry entrepreneurs, diplomats, foreign delegations etc. The government had earlier approved a methodology for commercial mining of coal on revenue sharing basis.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by the Prime Minister.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while announcing the stimulus package for the coronavirus-hit economy, had said coal mines would be auctioned to the private sector for commercial mining to end reliance on imports and improve local production.

The methodology approved by the CCEA provides that bid parameter will be revenue share, the government had said, adding that bidders would be required to bid for a percentage share of revenue payable to the government.

Published 17 June 2020, 17:13 IST

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