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Private Investors Shun India’s Coal Projects

India’s Coal Ministry has received bids from private investors for just 19 out of the 67 coal mines it had put up for an auction to private investors, the ministry of one of the world’s largest coal consumers has said.

India, which continues to plan future coal capacity despite the global push against the dirtiest fossil fuel, received a total of 34 bids for 19 coal mines, including 10 fully explored and nine partially explored mines, the ministry added. Of the 19 mines that attracted interest, four are coking coal mines, and the other 15 are non-coking coal mines. Eight coal mines attracted two or more bids, according to India’s Coal Ministry. 

The bids will now be further evaluated, and shortlisted bidders will be invited to take part in the auction.

Only Indian private miners participated in the auction, including a unit of Adani Power, the largest private thermal power producer in India.

The lack of bidders from outside India underscores the challenges the country faces in attracting foreign investors in a sector that is increasingly pushed to the sidelines by environmental issues and net-zero pledges in many economies.

India, however, is not part of the dozens of nations that have already vowed to work to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or, in China’s case, by 2060.

One of the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitters, India, could add more coal-fired electricity generation capacity despite the global push for clean power sources.

India could still need new coal capacity in the coming years to balance more renewable energy sources, also because coal is still the cheapest source of generation, according to a draft new strategy, National Electricity Policy (NEP) 2021, which Reuters saw in April.

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A month earlier, state miner Coal India approved in March as many as 32 new coal mining projects worth a total investment of US$6.4 billion, as one of the world’s largest coal consumers looks to reduce reliance on imports as its coal demand continues to grow.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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