Coal mines sale

NEW DELHI: India will auction another eight coal blocks to private steel, cement and electricity companies in January, coal secretary Anil Swarup said on Thursday, as it races to more than double output to 1.5 billion tonnes this decade to power its economy. India’s government started selling coal mines earlier this year through auctions after its Supreme Court scrapped the controversial practice of selective allocation to private companies. Top firms like Adani Power Ltd and the GMR Group have won coal mines in three rounds of auctions so far, and interest is expected to remain robust for the upcoming auction for blocks in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Total peak production at those mines is estimated at 12.9 million tonnes. The government expects private companies to produce as much as 500 million tonnes of coal per year by 2020, while it expects state behemoth Coal India to churn out one billion tonnes.