Millennium Post

Vedanta plans to bid for coal mines to meet energy requirements

Vedanta is planning to acquire coal mines via auctions as the mining conglomerate seeks to ensure fuel security for its energy guzzling aluminium plants. "Numerous initiatives are being taken to meet our coal requirements. We will source our overall coal mix from low-cost imports and auctioned coal to optimise the cost in FY 2016-17. We are also looking to optimise our coal mix further by securing linkage coal through the auction route," Vedanta Resources said. The government has not yet finalised the dates for holding the fourth round of coal mine auctions, which was annulled in December 2015.

The firm led by billionaire Anil Agarwal added that the imported coal prices softened by around 20 per cent in 2015-16. Power constitutes 40 per cent of the input cost of making aluminium metal and is a major cost factor for producers. Vedanta Group firm Balco had won Chotia and Gare Palma IV/1 blocks, both in Chhattisgarh in the first tranche of auctions on February 17 and 21 last year, respectively. Vedanta group had bid for the most number, 14 coal mines, putting in as many as 25 bids through several group firms.

However, the Gare Palma IV/1 mine for which Balco had emerged as the highest bidder was cancelled and given to Coal India. Its group firms Balco and Sesa Sterlite also participated in the second round of coal auctions, that took place in March 2015. Vedanta Ltd and Balco also participated in the third round of auctions, which took place in August 2015. 

The fourth round of auction is yet to take place. The government in December last year, annulled the process for fourth round on account of poor response from bidders in sectors like steel as well as depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions.

The fourth round of mines auction was slated for January 18-22, 2016. The previous three rounds of auction will generate more than Rs 3 lakh crore from sale of 30 coal mines.

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