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New Delhi : India launched its 2nd Tranche of auction for commercial coal mining offering 67 mines for sale of coal on March 25, 2021.  This is the highest number of mines on offer in a particular tranche of auction after commencement of the auction regime since 2014. Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi launched the auction process at a programme held in New Delhi. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog ,and Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary (Coal), were also present in the function.

Out of the total 67 mines offered by the Ministry of Coal, 23 mines are under CM(SP) Act and 44 under MMDR Act. The coal mines on offer are a mix of mines with small and large reserves, coking and non-coking mines and fully and partially explored mines spread across 6 States Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh, according to a PIB release.

“We are making coal the driver of economic activities in the country. There are huge opportunities that the Indian coal sector is offering. Therefore, I invite investors to come and be a part of vastly untapped coal reserves in the country. Grow your businesses and take India along on the growth course,” Joshi said while launching the auction process.

“Commercial coal mining will bring in new investments, create huge employment opportunities and boost socio-economic development in coal-bearing states. A market-based coal economy will help the nation become Aatmanirbhar in coal.” Joshi added.

The Coal Minister also said looking at the past success, the government is moving towards adopting a ‘Rolling Auction’ mechanism for conducting future auctions. Coal is the first mineral resource where Rolling Auction mechanism is being implemented in which a pool of coal blocks will always remain available for auctions.

“With rolling auctions, we will upload a comprehensive list of mines along with key technical data and bidders can submit their preferences for the mines to be included in the next tranche of auction. This would be a continuous process and would result in expediting the auction setup. Moreover, it will also help bidders in planning better and would further enhance transparency in the system.” said Joshi.

Joshi also said that along by promoting commercial coal mining, the government is also looking at reforming the existing e-auction mechanism of Coal India Limited and considering clubbing different e-auction windows of CIL into one. This will help in moving towards One Price for One Coal Grade. Selling coal at market-determined prices through one e-auction window would help in simplifying the system and promoting transparency.