In what could be a prize catch, the state government has bagged a lease for a coal mine in Jharkhand in the bidding conducted by the Centre.
In what could be a prize catch, the state government has bagged a lease for a coal mine in Jharkhand in the bidding conducted by the Centre. Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC), a fully-owned AP government firm, has got the licence to explore coking coal from Brahmadiha cooking coal mine block in Jharkhand. APMDC is the lone public sector firm among the 14 firms which filed bids for the lease of Brahmadiha coal mine. Interestingly, this is the only block where coking coal reserves are available among the coal blocks auctioned by the Centre.
The state signed an MoU with the Centre on taking the coal block on lease on Monday. Gopalakrishna Dwivedi, principal secretary, panchayat raj, mines and minerals, received the MoU document from the Union coal ministry joint secretary Nagaraju at a function held in New Delhi in the presence of Union home minister Amit Shah and coal minister Pralhad Joshi.
Speaking to media here on Monday, PR and mines minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy said that APMDC had emerged as the successful bidder in the auction held in November by offering nearly 41.75 per cent share of in production revenue.
The minister said that coking coal is a key raw material in steel production and APMDC’s jackpot would help the state government in putting the process of setting up of steel plant in Kadapa district on fast track. Sources said that the state government might explore all options including purchasing the coking coal at cheaper price in the local market and sell the stocks from Jharkhand coal block depending on the revenues.
“It is a well-thought out strategy to own the coal block to make the steel plant operations successful,” said a senior official. Sources said that the government is contemplating to import coking coal for Kadapa plant from Australia and sell the Jharkhand coal mine to off-set its costs as it is believed that transportation from Jharkhand mine would make the stock expensive than the imported stocks.
Sources said that the state government is also following a similar strategy for AP Genco thermal power plants as it had been importing cheaper coal while selling the stocks from the coal blocks it owned in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha the past.