Of the 38 mines offered for auction, the Ministry of Coal received a total of 76 eligible bids for 23. The technical bids comprising online and offline bid documents as part of the auction were opened at 10.00 am on Wednesday. This was done in the presence of bidders who were given the option of joining the meeting in either in-person or virtually.
The Ministry of Coal had launched the auction process for the sale of coal on June 18. The bids had to be submitted by 2.00 pm on September 29.
“The online bids were decrypted and opened electronically in the presence of the bidders. Subsequently, sealed envelopes containing offline bid documents were also opened in the presence of bidders. The entire process was displayed on the screen for the bidders. A total of 76 bids have been received for 23 coal mines. Two or more bids have been received for 19 coal mines,” the ministry said in an official statement.
Notable bidders include The Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp. Ltd (APMDC), Adani Power and Resources Ltd, Adani Enterprises Ltd, Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd (BALCO), Dilip Buildcon Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), JSW Steel Ltd, National Aluminium Co. Ltd (NALCO), Sunflag Iron & Steel Ltd, Vedanta Ltd and Welspun Steel Ltd. Adani Enterprises Ltd submitted the largest number of bids (7), followed by Hindalco Industries Ltd and JMS Mining Pvt. Ltd (5 each), Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corp. Ltd, Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd and EMIL Mines & Mineral Resources Ltd (4 each), and Sarda Energy & Mineral Ltd, Stratatech Mineral Resources Pvt. Ltd and Vedanta Ltd (3 each).
The largest number of bids, eight, were received for Gare Palma IV/7, Gotitoria (East) and Gotitoria (West) blocks while six bids each were received for Brahmadiha and Urma Paharitola blocks. Four bids each were received for Gondulpara, Radhikapur (East), Radhikapur (West), Rajhara North (Central & Eastern), Sahapur (East) and Sahapur (West) blocks. Three bids each were received for Bandha, Chakla, Gare Palma (IV/1), Marki Mangli-II and Urtan North.
“The bids will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary technical evaluation committee and technically qualified bidders would be shortlisted for participation in the electronic auction to be conducted on MSTC Ltd’s portal from October 19, 2020,” a coal ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi.
Although India has the world’s fourth-largest coal reserves it still incurs a substantial bill on imports. In FY2018-19, the country imported nearly 235 million tonnes (MT) of coal, of which around 135 MT valued at Rs1.71 trillion could have been met from the domestic supply.
Launching the coal blocks auction process in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked rhetorically, “Give it a thought. The nation with the fourth largest coal reserves in the world; the second-largest producer in the world; that nation is not a coal exporter, but the second-largest coal importer in the world! The question is when we are one of the largest producers in the world, why can’t we be the largest exporter.”
Development of a robust mining and minerals sector is, therefore, an important part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push towards self-reliance through the flagship Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The Ministry of Coal has also indicated that it will end the import of substitutable coal in the next three to four years.