Coal auction: Restarts with Maharashtra mine

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Coal auctions resumed on Thursday with the solitary Majra mine in Maharashtra up for bidding after a day of auctions was stalled by legal and safety issues.

“Bidding for Majra Coal Block continues even after initial two hour stipulated time. Stands at 814,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup tweeted, referring to the per tonne price at which the mine was being bid for at that point in time.

“Bidding for Majra Coal Block commences at 1100 hours. Applicable floor price at Rs.800,” he tweeted earlier.

The Majra mine has extractable reserves of 14.92 million tonnes for which firms like ACC, Crest Steel and Power, Emami Cement, Grace Industries, Jaypee Cement and JK Lakshmi Cement are in the race.

The government on Wednesday deferred auction of Chitarpur coal mine in Jharkhand because of a court case.

An official told reporters that Parbatpur Central mine in Jharkhand, slated for bidding on Thursday, would not be auctioned as the ministry has received a representation that it should be withdrawn because the mine contains gas.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of the Parbatpur Central and Chitarpur coal mines that “bidders may kindly note that the Parbatpur Central Coal Mine is withdrawn from the process of auction”.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.

Companies like Hindalco, Jindal Steel and Power and Vedanta Ltd. qualified for 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 left 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,” Swarup tweeted.

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

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 of “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.

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