Govt puts off 5th round of coal mine auctions
The government has deferred e-auction of the fifth tranche of coal mines for the steel sector and any further development will be intimated in due course.
"With reference to the fifth tranche of coal mines auction, bidders may kindly note that following events (e- auction for the qualified bidders scheduled between July 7-14, 2017) shall not take place as per the schedule," the office of Nominated Authority (Coal Ministry) said in a notice to the bidders.
Though the government has not cited any reasons for the action, sources said the auction was deferred as the bids from steel makers were not sufficient.
According to the notice, the demo e-auction would also not take place and further developments in this regard shall be intimated in due course.
A total of six coking coal blocks were to go under the hammer in the fifth round, five being in Jharkhand.
The six coal mines are : Brahmadih, Choritand Tiliaya, Jogeshwar & Khas Jogeshwar, Rabodih OCP and Rohne in Jharkhand, and Urtan North in Madhya Pradesh.
In December, 2015, the government annulled the fourth round of coal mine auctions planned for January 2016 on account of poor response from bidders in sectors like steel as well as depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions.
Earlier this month, the coal block auction received tepid interest from steel makers. Bad financial position of most steel companies is being seen as the reason behind the lukewarm response. Sources said in all 4-5 firms including JSW Steel and Tata Steel had evinced interest in the fifth round of coal auctions. Interest was discouraging even for lucrative mines like Rohne, Rabodih and Urtan North coal block in Madhya Pradesh.