Coal auctions: Topworth Urja, Crest Steel bid highest on day 1

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) 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 Chhatisgarh on first day, on Tuesday, of the third round of auction of coal mines, cancelled last year by the Supreme Court.

“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.

“Both blocks cross 600. Bidding still on. Status at 1500 hours,” he said earlier.

Commenting on the “Status of coal block auction at 1300 hours”, Swarup said: “Bidding goes beyond initial stipulated time of two hours.”

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 of 9.96 million tonnes (MT), was unsold in the previous round. Bhaskarpara’s extractable reserves are 24.06 MT.

Chitarpur mine in Jharkhand will be up for bidding on Wednesday while Parbatpur Central in Jharkhand and Majra in Maharashtra are scheduled for Thursday.

The schedule for the auction of Jamkhani coal mine in Odisha will be announced at a later date due to a case in the Delhi High Court case, said the coal ministry website.

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

“The e-auction of these mines is proposed to be held from August 11-17, 2015 and the process of allocation is scheduled to be completed by September 2015,” Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal told the Lok Sabha recently in a written reply.

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.

Two of the 10 coal blocks belong to schedule II (mines that were operational when the allocations were cancelled last year) while the remaining are schedule III mines (those that were nearly operational when the allocations were cancelled).

Making one change to the auction rules in this round, the government will treat multiple bids from one company as a single bid. Earlier, two or more bids from an entity were treated as separate bids.

The auctions so far, following the cancellation of 204 blocks by the Supreme Court in September last, have garnered around Rs.200,000 crore revenue for the states, Goyal said.

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, the minister added.

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