Rajasthan government conducted successful electronic auction of the largest limestone block in the country on Thursday. The block, situated in Jayal tehsil in Nagaur, has 168 million tons of high-grade limestone resources. Three cement companies - Emami Cements, JSW Cements and Mangalam Cements - were in the fray for bidding. The block saw aggressive bidding from these companies and received a final bid of 60.09% from Emami Cements, more than 8 times the reserve price of 7%. This bid also beat the previous highest of 58.95% in Chhattisgarh to become the highest bid for a mineral block in the country. The success of this auction is being looked at as a major achievement for the state, given slow growth in the sector over the last two years. Earlier in July, Rajasthan government had announced the auction of the block, as a part of its agenda to push Rajasthan as a top mining destination in India.
Secretary Mines, Mrs. Aparna Arora said, “This is a major success for the department as it will result in revenue of at least INR 6000 Cr for the state over the life of the mine as well as create hundreds of jobs in the area. Rajasthan is already the leading cement manufacturer in the country with presence of 23 cement plants - this will further consolidate Rajasthan’s position. I congratulate Emami cements for winning the auction and look forward to working with them.” She said the block was carefully chosen based on industry requirements and preferences, and its attractiveness in terms of size, land ownership pattern and economics.
As per the Mineral (Auction) Rules 2015, the process started with sale of tender document on 2nd July. The reserve price for initial bids was set at 7% and seven players purchased the tender document for the block. The actual bidding process took place in two rounds – initial bid and e-auction. Initial bids were opened on 16th Sept and floor price for e-auction was set at 16.59%, the highest of the initial bids. The three bidders competed in live e-auction of the block on 22nd Sept, where Emami Cements won. They will now initiate the process of securing statutory clearances like environmental clearance. Government of India has constituted Post-Auction Mining Clearances and Approvals Facilitator (PAMCAF) to reduce delays required for these clearances and approvals for auctioned blocks.
Mrs. Arora said that the government is committed to making Rajasthan the top mining destination in the country and is taking several steps to boost mining in Rajasthan. “We are investing in world class exploration capabilities as well as focusing on clearing all pending applications.” The department is in the process of selecting minerals blocks for the next round of auctions, which will be announced soon. On behalf of the department, she committed all the necessary support to the investors.