At a tad below two billion tonnes, the reserves of Congress Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) are the highest among the companies that accounted for the 57 coal block allocations questioned by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
With 1.5 billion tonnes, Strategic Energy Technology Systems, a Tata-Sasol joint venture for a coal-to-liquid project, has the second-highest reserves.
Kolkata-based Electrosteel Castings has the third-highest reserves. The reserves of Tata Group stand at about 797 million tonnes across its steel and power companies. The Abhijeet Group (already under the scanner), Rungta Mines and Bhushan Power & Steel follow. (Click for table)
However, industry experts say geological reserves may not be the correct indicator for gauging a mine’s potential. For instance, according to CAG estimates, while geological reserves of the JSPL mines may be about two billion tonnes, extractable reserves stood at half the figure. What matters is the depth at which the coal is available. Most end-user industries felt auctioning coal blocks was not an option, as there was no precedence. However, they agreed the allotment was opaque, to say the least.