CMPDIL Prepares to Re-auction Blocks

Coal India arm has detailed data for most deallocated blocks & is working on reorganising mines

Coal India's consultancy and exploration arm Central Mine Planning & Development Institute (CMPDIL) has started procuring, compiling and preparing data on coal blocks deallocated by the Supreme Court so that they can be auctioned profitably, following instructions from coal ministry officials.

Although the government is yet to give an official directive to the state-run miner in this regard, CMPDIL has already started assessing the 164 non-producing blocks which are to be auctioned, a senior official said.

Most blocks once belonged to Coal India and CMPDIL believes auctioning responsibility will be handed to it, added the official, requesting anonymity. “We have received various unofficial directions from coal ministry officials asking us to take a look at the data for blocks that are still unexploited. We already have some data, the rest we need to procure and compile so that they can be auctioned in a way that will attract investors' interest and will be profitable for users too,“ the official said.

CMPDIL, which is heavily into exploration and holds detailed data for most blocks that are to be returned, is working on reorganising mines before they are auctioned so new owners can reap maximum benefit from them. Coal India officials said the miner intends to request the government to allow it to keep some of the deep-seated reserves in areas where it is already operating. These deposits are hard to mine by another party because the costs are prohibitive if they have to be mined on a standalone basis. However, if these coal seams are approached after mining the ones that lie above them, the cost of operation gets lowered. Some of the blocks contain deposits deeper in the mines where Coal India is operating. These seams, officials said, could be merged.

Some blocks contain huge reserves and mining coal here in smaller quantities may not be viable for companies that do not require economies of scale, officials said, adding that these blocks need special considerations before they are auctioned.

“The list also contains blocks that contain deposits in small unviable quantities. These blocks need to be clubbed with other bigger ones,“ another official said.

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