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India offers 26 commercial coal mines in ninth round of auction

Coal consumption increasing in India in response to increased electricity consumption, limited hydropower supply

India offers 26 commercial coal mines in ninth round of auction
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

The ninth round of auction for as many as 26 commercial coal mines in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana will begin on 20 December, the government said. 

While seven of the mines on offer are fully explored, 19 are partially explored.

Unlike previous commercial coal mine auctions, there are no restrictions on the sale or utilization of coal. Eligibility criteria have been eliminated, removing any technical or financial barriers for participation, the ministry of coal said in a press statement. 

“The upcoming ninth round of commercial coal auctions is poised to enhance the  participation of more private players in the coal sector, fostering competition, efficiency, innovation and contributing to sustainable development. This initiative follows unprecedented achievements in coal production and dispatch from captive and commercial coal mines,” the ministry said.

The auctions hold the potential to propel economic growth, generate employment opportunities, strengthen energy security, and contribute to sustainable development, the ministry further said. 

Demand for coal rising in India

Demand for coal is increasing in India, with the country witnessing an 8% increase in coal demand in 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report. 

Coal consumption has grown strongly in China, India, and ASEAN over the years, IEA said, adding that “as a result, in 2026, we expect China and India to account for more than 70% of global coal consumption.”

The IEA projected that demand for coal rose to 8.54 billion tons, up 1.4 % compared to last year. 

“In India and China, in particular, rising coal consumption is driven by robust growth in demand for electricity and low hydropower output. Overall, we expect global coal demand to grow slightly (by 1.4%) both in power and non-power sectors in 2023 to around 8.54 Bt, a new record,” it said in its latest report, ‘Coal 2023. 

By the end of 2023, the IEA forecasts the biggest decline in coal consumption in the USA and the European Union with an estimated drop of 20%, while other advanced economies such as Korea, Japan, Canada, and Australia – are set to see lower rates of decline.

“For China and India, domestic coal production has long been the cornerstone of energy security policy. In recent years, both countries have struggled to keep the lights on during periods of high electricity demand even before these shocks owing to coal shortages and high prices. As a result, both governments have intensified efforts to increase coal production since October 2021,” it said.

Government data showed that the all India production of coal during 2022-23 was 893.19 million tones with a positive growth of 14.77% while the total import during the same period stood at 237.67 million tones. 

Meanwhile, a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) showed that a decline in solar installations and a surge in coal power from July to September reduced the total renewable energy additions of the quarter. 

Investments fell by a steep 65% to $2.2 billion in the April to June quarter in a weak phase for the renewable energy sector, it said.


Javaid Naikoo is a senior correspondent at Press Insider. A seasoned and analytical journalist, Javaid covers economy and policy from New Delhi. He has reported on politics, business and social issues in the past, and also has a keen interest in photojournalism. His compelling words and art have appeared across domestic and global publications. More

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