India’s Parliament passed The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which will open a new era in Indian coal sector, according to Reuters. The amended provisions clearly provide that companies which do not possess any prior coal mining experience in India and or have mining experience in other minerals or in other countries can participate in auction of coal and lignite blocks. This will not only increase participation in coal and lignite block auctions, it should also attract foreign direct investment. The Bill also has prospecting provisions and replaces the ordinance for amendment of the MMDR Act 1957 and CMSP Act which was promulgated on January 10, 2020.
India’s thermal coal imports rose 13% to 198 million metric tons (mt) in 2019. Following two straight years of increase, coking coal imports dropped slightly to 51 million mt in 2019 from 52 million mt in 2018. Indonesia accounted for nearly 60% of India’s thermal coal imports in the April-December period, while South Africa accounted for 22% and Russia and Australia accounting for more than 5% each.