The Indian Ministry of Coal has announced that 22 companies have submitted 35 bids to run coal mines as part of a round of coal mine auctions in the country.
The ministry has put 103 coal and lignite projects up for sale under the seventh round of coal mine auctions. The round of bidding opened on 29 March 2022 and closed on 27 June. It included both online and offline documents.
The aim of the auction is to encourage the private sector to participate in the coal industry to improve production and meet coal targets. Earlier in June, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Coal Shri M Nagaraju said that, “by 2035 to 2040, India’s coal requirement could go up to two billion tonnes”. Nagaraju added that the “introduction of new technology” and “attracting private sector [investment]” will be key factors in securing this. Alongside 17 private entities, five public sector companies submitted bids, including coal miner NLC India and NTPC Mining, a subdivision of India’s largest public sector energy conglomerate, NTPC.
This week, in order to expedite the purchase and operation of coal mines, the Ministry of Coal held a consultation on the funding structure of commercial coal mines. One major point of discussion was the barriers to financial assistance faced by prospective miners. A statement from the Ministry of Coal said that in the consultation, “the banks expressed their willingness to and assured flexibility to finance coal mines subject to demonstration of, among other things, project viability, equity infusion visibility etcetera in presence of detailed business plan”.
In March, India’s coal minister stated that the country will have enough coal reserves by 2026 to begin exporting the fossil fuel. This prediction is supported by the 47% increase in coal production the country has experienced over the past nine years, growth that will be boosted still further by the current coal mine auctions.