The coal ministry will auction coal mines by May 10 to boost domestic production, reduce imports, and encourage imported coal-based power plants to switch to domestic fuel, aiming for zero thermal coal imports. View More

The coal ministry is likely to hold the next round of auction of coal mines for commercial mining by May 10 with 30 new blocks on offer. The ministry has received permission from the Election Commission of India for the auction, a senior government official told ET, referring to the 2024 general elections starting Friday. The auction will also see 50 mines that did not elicit a response in previous rounds being put on offer, the official said. "It will take two months to receive bids for the mines," the official said. The government's target is to augment domestic coal production and reduce imports with commercial mines playing a major role. Captive and commercial mines produced 147 million tonnes of coal in FY24, an increase of nearly 48%, the official said. Production is likely to breach 170 MT this fiscal, the official added. Coal production target for FY30 has been set at around 1.5 billion tonnes, as per the ministry. In the last forward auction held in March, JK Cement bid the highest for Mahan coal mine in Madhya Pradesh. Rungta Sons Pvt. Ltd pipped JSW Steel Ltd to clinch South of Damuda in Jharkhand. Bull Mining bid highest for Jharkhand's Duni Central, where Tata Steel was also a contender. The coal ministry launched auctions of mines for commercial mining under the ninth round on December 20 and eighth round on November 15. The coal ministry earlier said it is taking strategic initiatives for sustainable development and self-reliance in the energy domain. Coal minister Pralhad Joshi said earlier his ministry will ask imported coal-based power plants to consider switching to domestic fuel-based design and technology as electricity production in India is set to rise. The ministry is aiming for zero thermal coal imports by FY26. (You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel) (You can now subscribe to our Economic Times WhatsApp channel)




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