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Second phase of India coal auction postponed

World Coal,

The second phase in the auction of 21 ready-to-produce coal mines in India will take place on 2 March, rather than 25 February as originally planned.

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup tweeted: “Announcement of qualified bidders for Schedule 3 Blocks on March 2. Auctions (of schedule III mines) to be held from March 4 - 8”.

The ministry put on hold the announcement of qualified bidders after the Delhi high court asked the government to look into the possibility of a postponement of the auction.

This follows petitions filed by Sarda Energy and Minerals Ltd, Bhushan Steel and Monnet Ispat that have challenged the auction rule which mandates that only the top half of the technically qualified bidders are permitted to take part in the financial bidding stage.

The next hearing is on Friday 27 February, when the court will hear arguments over the Coal Ordinance Provisions Act, 2014.

Petitioning firms have requested that there should be only bidding two rounds – technical and financial – and that government should not select top 50% bids or top five bidders on the basis of the initial public offering (IPO) filed along with technical submissions.

A senior government official has indicated that: “The list of qualified bidders is ready and we will open the initial price offer as well. The proceedings are in line with the schedule. The auction will be after the high court hears the matter in detail on Friday”.

Swarup has further tweeted that the entire process of auction of schedule III blocks will be completed by 2 April.

Written by Emma McAleavey.

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