The auctioning of coal mines for commercial mining and sale of coal will commence on November 2, with 19 coal blocks going under the hammer. This will be the second and final round of the auction process wherein interested bidders will submit their financial bids in real-time on an online platform. This is the first time India is offering coal mines to private companies for commercial sale.
Adani Enterprises (AEL) through its various companies, Hindalco, Jindal Power, JSW Steel, Vedanta, and Welspun Steel, are in the fray for these mines. There are various non-coal companies, medium-sized enterprises, and state government mining companies participating in the auction.
Senior officials said the technically qualified bidders will be announced two hours prior to the bidding on Monday. The e-auction is being conducted on the e-commerce portal of state-owned MSTC.
“Two officers from the Central Mine Planning & Design Institute and the Ministry of Coal will open the initial price offers and upload on the bidding platform of ‘MSTC E-Commerce’. The software will itself declare the highest and lowest offer. The bidding will commence from the highest initial price offer,” said an official, adding there will hardly be any manual intervention after the initial offers are uploaded.
The bidding time for every mine is two hours, the bid submission window eight minutes. Bidding will close when there is no bid for eight minutes. “As long as the bids keep coming, the process can continue beyond two hours,” said a ministry official.
The MSTC system will declare the highest bidder or the preferred bidder. The nominated authority of the commercial coal auction will evaluate all bids, submit to the Ministry of Coal, which will declare the successful bidder. The e-auction will run from November 2-9.
The Centre had started the process of coal mine auction — for commercial mining and sale by private companies — in June. Bidding terms were liberalised to attract foreign players, non-mining entities, and large miners. It amended the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, in May to simplify the auction process and attract significant investor interest.
However, there was no offer submitted by any foreign company. AEL has submitted the highest number of technical bids and initial offer for 12 mines.
The technical round under which the companies submitted their eligibility and initial price offer closed last month. Of the 38 coal blocks offered by the Ministry of Coal, it received interest from 46 companies for 19 blocks. The total number of bids submitted were 82.