Indian State to Auction Off Bauxite Mines

Indian State to Auction Off Bauxite Mines
Chhattisgarh high court, India. Source: Wikipedia

Following up on a successful auction in February, the Indian state government of Chhattisgarh is planning to put two more bauxite mines up for auction in the near future.

According to officials, the government will also auction off eight other limestone mines as well. Earlier this year the government auctioned off three limestone and one gold mine, netting US$600 million in the process.

India’s Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 allows individual states to auction iron ore and non-coal mines in a more transparent manner than they had previously done. Prior to last year, states would simply allocate such mines without a bidding process.

“The department has started the process and is completing the formalities at the Centre level,” a senior official in the mining department with knowledge of the situation told a local media outlet.

Limestone mines in other states have been a boon to the local cement industries in Raipur and Balodabazar. The seven cement plants in Chhattisgarh expect to benefit from the limestone mines to be auctioned as well. In addition, opening new limestone mines is expected to entice new players into the business.

Vedanta’s Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (Balco) is expected to make a bid on the bauxite mines on the auction block. The firm has plans to increase capacity at its facilities in Korba to one million metric tons per annum. Vedanta’s Chairman Anil Agarwal visited the facility earlier last week for the first time after becoming the majority stakeholder in 2001 and subsequently told company officials to restart the program and implement modernization at once.

According to company officials, its mines at Sarguja’s Mainpath and Kawardha are quickly depleting, with only three more years of production projected. The official said Balco is looking at mines in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand as well.