MAC: Mines and Communities

India: Vedanta leads race in coal block bidding

Published by MAC on 2015-02-09
Source: Press Trust India

Following the scandal of illegal and corrupt allocation of India's vast coal reserves, exposed underby the Supreme Court under the previous government and which caused it to clamp down on mining, the Modi regime has now re-opened the floodgates

Among the bidders are some notorious domestic mining companies and steel producers, including (unsurprisingly) GVK and the Adani Group - now also trying to raise funds to plunder Queensland coal - and the Adita Birla and Naveen Jindal groups.

But, ahead of the pack, is the British company, Vedanta Resources, along with its subsidiaries iron producer Sesa Sterlite and alumininium giant BALCO.

The many Indian critics of Vedanta, and its megalomaniac owner Anil Agarwal, don't usually identify the company as hungry for coal - its exploits in Orissa, Goa and elsewhere, including Zambia, having given them enough to contend with.

However, Agarwal has never made any secret about his intention to grab the bulk of Indian supplies of the black stuff, thus increasing the availability of cheap power for his multifarious aluminium, copper and zinc refining and smelting enterprises.

Indeed, as the Business Standard pointed out in Ocotber 2013, Vedanta's Rs 50,000-crore [around £5,1000,000,000] power investment cycle was set in motion five years back. And "[t]he largest private sector power generator in the country has a current capacity of 6,500 Mw running on ground".

Put starkly, the growing global lobby against rampant greenhouse gas emissions has a new corporate target.

What's more, it's British.

Vedanta leads race in coal block bidding

Press Trust India

4 February 2015

Mining magnate Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Group is leading the bidding race in the first round of coal block auction followed by Aditya Birla Group, Naveen Jindal Group and Adani Group. Other domestic players in the fray include GMR, GVK, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group and Lanco.

Vedanta has bid for 14 out of 23 blocks on offer, Aditya Birla Group put in 15 bids for 8 blocks, Naveen Jindal-led JSPL-the worst hit by the deallocation of coal blocks by the Supreme Court-put in 13 bids for 6 blocks and the Adani's bid for six, according to bid data available after close of technical bids on Tuesday.

The Gare Palma IV/7 block in Chhattisgarh with extractable reserves of 56.62 million tonnes (MT) was the most sought after block attracting as many as 16 bids from firms like Balco, Hindalco, JSPL, Monnet Ispat, Sesa Sterlite and Sarda Energy & Mineral.

The Gare Palma IV/7 block, with geological reserves of 67.149 MT, was previously allocated to Sarda Energy & Mineral Limited. For this block, JSPL has submitted as many as four bids followed by two each from Balco and Hindalco. Besides Balco, another Vedanta Group firm Sesa Sterlite has also submitted technical bid for the block.

Other bidders for the mine include Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys, Jaiprakash Associates, Monnet Ispat and Energy, OCL Iron and Steel, Rungta Mines, Sarda Energy and Ultra Tech Cement.

The Parbatpur Central block in Jharkhand attracted just one bid from JSW Steel.

Industry estimates suggest these blocks may fetch tens of thousands of crores of rupees in revenue while the exact estimate is not known.

The 23 coal mines have geological reserves of over 1,500 MT and many firms have given multiple bids for one coal block. As many as 176 bids have been received for the 23 mines, under Schedule II category (under production) in the first tranche of the auction process.

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