Govt consults coal industry

 

FICCI.

 

Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi took stock of the issues of the organizations related to exploration of minerals including Potash and Lignite in Rajasthan on 25 Jan 2020.

He was joined by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Heavy Industries Arjun Ram Meghwal in the review meeting with senior representatives of Geological Survey of India (GSI), NLC India Limited and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) who made presentations on the exploration related activities undertaken by them in Rajasthan.

Responding, the Minister has asked the representatives to expedite the projects in Rajasthan and directed them to take up the matter with State Government.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Coal including Dr. K. Rajeswara Rao, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Vinod Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal also attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Anil Kumar Jain, Coal Ministry’s Secretary, said the government is looking at reducing the entry barriers in coal mining which will have a spin effect on the GDP growth and the economy.

Addressing the FICCI meeting on 23 Jan 2020, Jain further added that the Ministry is open to all suggestions in this regard and will go to the Cabinet after the consultation series are over.

He was speaking at a Stakeholder Consultation on recently launched Discussion Paper of Ministry of Coal for ‘Auction of Coal Mines for Sale of Coal’ organized by Coal Ministry and FICCI.

This was the first of the series of stakeholders’ consultations being organized to gain the industry’s perspective on the upcoming auction of coal mines for sale of coal. The second roundtable is in the series is being organized on 28th January at Kolkata.

Speaking at the same event, Vinod Kumar Tiwari, emphasized that the objective of the Stakeholders’ consultation is to mitigate the concerns of industry and enhance the participation in the auction.

Highlighting that there is no true assessment of future coal demand in the country, he stressed on the need to reduce the burden on coal imports.

He also highlighted Government’s efforts to ensure maximum participation in the upcoming auctions by reducing the upfront payment amount to 0.5 percent, extending the Prospecting Leases (PL) cum Mining Leases (ML) contracts and minimum 4% revenue share as the floor price for the commercial coal mining auction process.

Further, the Ministry also asked the Stakeholders to share suggestions on which mines they would want to bid for in the first tranche of auctions.

Dilip Chenoy, FICCI Secretary General, appreciated the Ministry’s openness to receive suggestions on commercial coal mining.

Commending the bold step of Coal Ministry to open up the sector, he said that this should help take us to a regime where the needs of the economy for coal are met.

Government had promulgated Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 on 10 January 2020 to enable wider participation in auction of coal mines by removing the end-use restrictions of the mining blocks.

Earlier last year, Government had also allowed 100% Foreign Direct Investment under automatic route for coal mining activities including associated processing infrastructure.

To take this forward, Government is in the process of formulating guidelines for commercial mining of coal blocks. Subsequently, the Coal Ministry has come out with a Discussion Paper entailing key terms and conditions of the auction process.

The consultation, which has participation from a wide spectrum of industry representatives from Tata Steel, JSW, Sembcorp, Adani, GMR, JSPL, Vedanta, Essel Mining, Caterpillar, Hindalco, Thyssenkrupp, Fometo, ACB, and Sunflag, was organized with the objective to gain insights from the industry players before formulating guidelines for commercial mining of coal blocks and the concerns of industry in this regard are addressed before the auction for commercial coal mines begins.

As the Government looks to open up the coal sector, the Ministry is looking to hold discussions with more and more stakeholders so that they are able to refine the methodology for auction of commercial coal mines.

Coal Ministry has targeted to begin the auction of coal mines within this fiscal itself.

This is as part of the larger objective of ensuring maximum participation from the domestic as well as global players in the upcoming auctions of commercial coal mines. Fiinews.com

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