'Govt planning to auction more than 74 coal mines in first lot'

'Govt planning to auction more than 74 coal mines in first lot'

The Centre is considering adding some more mines to the first lot of 74 blocks for auction to meet the growing demand for the fuel, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on Saturday.

Of the 214 captive coal blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court on September 25, auction of the first lot will begin on February 11 and will be completed by March 15, he added.
The identified blocks will be made available to companies with specified end-use plants like power, steel and cement, including those in the private sector.

The capacity of these mines, of which 42 are already operational but their allocation remains cancelled following the court order, is inadequate to meet the current demand for the fuel, Swarup said here.

"The 42 blocks, which are already operational, have reserves that will be enough for just over five years having a capacity of nearly 90 million tonnes per year. The remaining 32 have capacity of nearly 120 million tonnes per year. But this capacity is not enough to meet the demand for the fuel," the official said.

Therefore, apart from these 74, out of the 214 blocks, those which are already ready for operation but where mining has not commenced, can be put up for auction, Swarup said.

The Coal Ministry is working out the valuation of the auction-bound blocks. Also, the Government is finalising on the number of blocks to be auctioned to private companies and those allocated to be public.

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