Coal India changes e-auction policy to allow domestic buyers to export coal from India

Coal India Limited.

Coal India has made changes in its e-auction policy to allow domestic buyers, including traders, to export coal from India.

The board of directors of the public sector miner has given its nod to the move that could lift coal offtake further. The change will be effective from June 8.

Coal India officials said this is a major development since the introduction of spot e-auction of coal in 2007. While Coal India will not directly export, consumers who procure coal can now look at the overseas markets. The miner in turn can get a better premium on coal if demand picks up.

The requirement of complying with government rules and all statutory guidelines and legal obligations, however, will lie solely with the buyer and the exporter.

The change was brought about by an amendment to the existing clause in the auction policy which said coal procured through e-auction could only be used within the country and not exported. This is effective for two categories – spot e-auction and special spot-auction.

Allocation under spot e-auction and special spot e-auction together accounted for 46 million tonnes (mt) of the coal sold in 2020-21, which was 37 per cent of the 124mt allocated for auctions during the year.

The highest quantity allocated among all the five auction windows was for spot e-auction at 42.5mt. It fetched a 25 per cent premium over the notified price, again the highest. Special spot e-auction netted a premium of 13 per cent over the notified price.

“Though Coal India would not be directly exporting coal, allowing those who procure coal under the two auction windows to export may prove to be catalytic for our sales. If there is a favourable response outside the country, we may witness more active participation as spot e-auctions book higher volumes,” said a senior official of the company.

Spot e-auction is meant for all categories of Indian coal buyers, including traders. Special spot e-auction, introduced in 2016, is similar in every way but the booked quantity of coal could be lifted over an extended time period.

“We feel upbeat about this development and will hopefully witness an upsurge in auction bookings under the two schemes,” said the executive.

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