Coal auction: 2 mines withdrawn for legal, safety issues

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The government on Wednesday deferred auction of Chitarpur coal mine in Jharkhand because of a court case, while the Parbatpur Central mine in Jharkhand, slated for bidding on Thursday, has been withdrawn from the process on representation that it contains gas.

The coal ministry, in a notice, informed the bidders of the Parbatpur Central and Chitarpur coal mines that “bidders may kindly note that the Parbatpur Central Coal Mine is withdrawn from the process of auction”.

“Consequent to hearing dated August 11, 2015 in Writ Petition (C) 7630/2015 (Kolkata Glass and Ceramics Pvt Ltd vs UOI) before High Court of Delhi, the e-auction of Chitarpur Coal Mine shall not be held on August 12, 2015,” the notice said.

Regarding Chitarpur, the notice said the date of e-auction would be intimated later.

An official told reporters that Parbatpur Central mine would not be auctioned as the ministry has received a representation that it should be withdrawn because the mine contains gas.

Companies like Hindalco, Jindal Steel and Power and Vedanta Ltd had qualified the technical bidding part of the auction process for Chitarpur mine, while firms like JSW Steel, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam and SAIL were in the fray for Parbatpur Central.

The situation leaves only the Majra mine in Maharashtra up for bidding on Thursday in the ongoing third round of auction of coal blocks whose allotments were cancelled last September by the Supreme Court.

On the first day, on Tuesday, of the third round of auctions, Topworth Urja and Metals Ltd emerged as the highest bidder for the Marki Mangli 1 coal block in Maharashtra, while Crest Steel bid the most for the Bhaskarpara mines in Chhattisgarh.

“Bhaskarpara closed at Rs.755. Highest bidder is Crest Steel and Power,” the coal ministry said in a message at the close of the first day of auctions.

“Topworth Urja and Metal highest bidder at 715 for Marki Mangli 1 Coal Block,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup tweeted.

After clearing the technical bidding stage, Jindal Steel and Power, Crest Steel and Power, Godawari Natural Resources, Grace Industries, Lloyds Metals and Energy and Topworth Urja and Metals became eligible to bid for these two blocks.

Marki Mangli-I mine, with extractable reserves of 9.96 million tonnes (MT), was unsold in the previous round. Bhaskarpara’s extractable reserves are 24.06 MT.

The government last week released the list of technical bidders for the first five coal mines up for bidding in the third phase.

The auction of 10 mines will take place in this round, including six offered earlier but which failed to find takers.

The mines up for auction are all “captive” category, for use by the unregulated sector to manufacture products like cement, aluminium, steel and iron.

The government informed parliament last month of the auction of these 10 coal mines holding 858.19 million tonnes of geological reserves and 356.26 million tonnes of extractable reserves.

The auctions, so far, have garnered around Rs.200,000 crore revenue for the states, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal told the Lok Sabha recently.

Apart from an estimated revenue of Rs.1,71,961 crore from 29 coal mines already auctioned, royalty of Rs.20,620 crore and upfront payment of Rs.930 crore accrues to the states, he said.

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