Cancel allocation of Banai-Bhalumuda to JSW Steel: NTPC – ET Infra

NEW DELHI: NTPC has sought annulment of the allocation of Banai-Bhalumuda coal block to JSW Steel, which the latter had won under the sixth tranche of commercial mines auction in November. These mines were earlier with NTPC to be developed for captive use.

The state-run power producer had requested permission from the coal ministry to merge these two blocks, which was not allowed, sources in the know of the matter said. NTPC subsequently relinquished these mines in 2020, they said.

While relinquishing the blocks, NTPC had said the low level of recovery of coal reserves, along with high stripping, high initial depth, and non-availability of non-coal area for external overburden dumping would raise the cost of coal from the mines. However, when the coal ministry put out coal blocks for auction in November 2022, it listed the two as a single block, which took NTPC by “surprise”, one of the persons said.

The company would have provided cheaper coal to its power plants, which would have ultimately benefited users, the person said, adding that NTPC would not have relinquished these blocks if it was allowed to merge them.

JSW Steel declined to comment while NTPC and the power ministry did not respond to emails till the time of going to print.

The Ministry of Coal said it was not aware of any alleged request from NTPC for annulment of allocation of Banai and Bhalumuda coal mines to JSW Steel. NTPC participated in the sixth round of coal auctions by bidding for only the Burapahar coal mine in Odisha, the coal ministry said in a response to ET. “If NTPC has been interested in Banai & Bhalumuda coal mines located in Chhattisgarh, then it could have submitted a bid for these mines,” the ministry added.

The said mines have 1,376 million tonnes of coal reserves – the highest among the 29 that were successfully auctioned in the sixth round – and a peak rated capacity of 15 million tonnes per year.

  • Published On Jun 14, 2023 at 08:00 AM IST

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