The detailed exploration of 54 coal mines to be allocated, both through the auction and the government dispensation routes, is likely to begin in the next two months.
Coal India Ltd's (CIL) consultancy firm Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI) has chalked out detailed action plans for exploration of the coal mines.
"In the next two months the detailed exploration of the 54 coal mines will begin," a source in the Coal Ministry said. The Coal Ministry had in May identified 54 blocks to be allocated to various sectors, including steel, power and cement.
Of these 54 mines, a maximum of 16 have been earmarked for the power sector, 12 for the steel sector, 12 for government firms, 7 for the cement sector, 5 for sponge iron and 2 for surface gasification.
The decision for a detailed exploration of mines was taken in June. These 54 coal mines have already undergone regional exploration.
The Coal Ministry has also asked Crisil to prepare the methodology for determining the reserve price of coal blocks to be auctioned. To ensure transparency, the government had earlier announced that from now on coal blocks for captive use would be allocated through competitive bidding route.
The Coal Ministry is in the midst of a controversy, after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in an initial report estimated Rs 10.6 lakh crore loss to the exchequer due to the allotment of coal blocks during 2004 to 2009 without auction to 100 private and public sector companies.