New deadline for submitting applications for 3 coal mines

The Coal Ministry has extended the deadline to June 25 for companies submitting applications to participate in the competitive bidding for three mines.

"The 'Bid Due Date' i.E the last date of submission of bid is hereby extended from May 28 to June 25," Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Ltd (CMPDIL) said in a corrigendum dated May 14.

CMPDIL, a unit of Coal India, is a consultant in open-pit and underground mine planning and design in coal, lignite and other minerals.

"Accordingly, the sale of RFP (Request for Proposal) is also extended up to June 24," it said.

As of now, the government has received 36 applications from companies like Jindal Steel and Power Ltd and Tata Steel in response to the tender for allotment of mines.

The government had in February put up three mines in Jharkhand and West Bengal for auction for captive use.

The much-delayed auction features mines that have total reserves of 500 million tonnes.

The Centre had earlier drawn flak for delaying auction and the CAG had said that allotment of 57 mines to private firms without auction had resulted in a notional loss of Rs 1.8 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The Ministry of Coal offered three blocks for auction for captive use for steel, cement and sponge iron companies. Two blocks are in Jharkhand and one in West Bengal.

The blocks in Jharkhand are Jhirki & Jhirki (West) of East Bokaro Coalfield having geological reserves of 267.91 MT coking coal for steel (blast furnace) and Tokisud-II of South Karanpura Coalfield with 127.692 MT of reserves for cement plant.

The mine in West Bengal, Andal Babuisol of Raniganj Coalfield, has about 103.841 MT of reserves for sponge iron.

Last year, the government had allocated 17 coal mines to central and state public sector units, including four to NTPC. It had planned auction of 54 coal blocks with total estimated reserves of about 18 billion tonnes.

Amid the controversies shrouding coal block allotment, the government for the past two years has been saying that the auction would take place shortly.

The Cabinet last September had approved the methodology for auctioning coal blocks, providing for upfront and production-linked payments and benchmarking of coal sale prices.

The government had also set up an inter-ministerial panel to examine applications from companies for the allotment of three coal blocks on tariff bidding.

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