GMR, Reliance Cement bag blocks in first coal mines auction

‘Aggressive bids’ The former bid R1,371 crore, the latter R798 crore.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2015 1:10:14 pm
Business The Sial Ghoghri mine in Madhya Pradesh has a reserve of 6 million tonne and Talabira-1 mine in Orissa has extractable reserves of nearly 30 million tonne.

In the first ever auction of mineral resources, the government on Saturday successfully auctioned two coal blocks. While Anil Ambani-led Reliance Cement won the bid for Sial Ghoghri block, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Limited bagged the Talabira-1 mine on Orissa for an estimated Rs 1,371 crore and Rs 797.74 crore respectively.

The Sial Ghoghri mine in Madhya Pradesh has a reserve of 6 million tonne and Talabira-1 mine in Orissa has extractable reserves of nearly 30 million tonne. Reliance Cement pipped Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc Limited and OCL Iron and Steel by quoting a price of Rs 1,402 per tonne to win the electronic bid, while GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Limited beat companies Adani Power, Essar Power and Sesa Sterlite by quoting Rs 478 per tonne for the bid.

Coal minister Piyush Goyal told reporters that money that will be accrued from the auctions would enrich the coffers of the state governments by thousands of crores of rupees and utilise the proceeds for their developmental activities. Enthused by the huge response to the bids, coal secretary Anil Swarup described the bids as aggressive ones and said the proceeds would change the economic landscape of the states.

While Sial Ghoghri belonged to Prism Cement, Talabira-1 belonged to Hindalco Industries. The auctioning of the blocks had become necessary following cancellation of the allocation of 204 coal blocks by the Supreme Court in September last year after holding their allotments as illegal and arbitrary.

Around 134 bidders had qualified technical bids for bidding for 21 blocks. Hindalco, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco), GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Ltd, GVK Power, JSW Energy, Ambuja Cement and Hindustan Zinc are some major companies which have technically qualified for bidding. The government had planned to auction 23 blocks, but had to restrict to 21 blocks for inviting technical bids due to the Jabbalpur High Court’s order asking the government not to conduct auction Gotitoria East & West blocks.

The Delhi High Court too, has asked the coal ministry to take two coal blocks off the auction list. The  ministry has set reverse bidding for coal blocks earmarked for the power sector, meaning bidders will compete to offer the lowest tariff for electricity.

The auction being held on the e-auction portal mstcecommerce.com was telecast live at the Press Information Bureau conference hall for reporters and coal ministry officials. However, bidders who were pushing up prices were not revealed to them.  Goyal also made an unscheduled visit to the conference hall and hailed the e-auction as an event which would change fortunes of the country.

* The Sial Ghoghri mine in Madhya Pradesh has a reserve of 6 million tonne and Talabira-1 mine in Orissa has extractable reserves of nearly 30 million tonne

* Reliance Cement pipped Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc Limited and OCL Iron and Steel by quoting a price of Rs 1,402 per tonne to win the electronic bid

* GMR Chhattisgarh Energy Limited beat companies Adani Power, Essar Power and Sesa Sterlite by quoting Rs 478 per tonne for the bid

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