Tatas say no coal block exploration as PL deed still pending
New Delhi: Tatas Thursday said it could not start exploration of the North of Arkhapal and Srirampur coal block in Odisha allotted to its joint venture firm as execution of Prospecting Licence (PL) deed with the state government is still pending.
"Though the block was allocated in February 2009, the PL order was issued by the Government of Odisha only on March 15, 2012. The execution of the PL deed is still pending, without which exploration cannot proceed," a statement from the Tatas said.
The North of Arkhapal and Srirampur coal block, located in the Talcher region of Odisha, was awarded to a JV between Tata group companies and Sasol of South Africa for a Coal-to- Liquids (CTL) project.
The two groups had formed the joint venture, Strategic Energy Technology Systems Private Limited, to carry out the project, which envisaged an investment of Rs 45,000 crore.
Tatas said the coal block was awarded to "in a structured process based on predetermined criteria".
"The joint venture was not meted out any extraordinary treatment," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the company said actual exploration is required to determine if the block has appropriate quantity and quality of coal reserves for the CTL project.
"In the event that the block has insufficient reserves of the appropriate quality for CTL, then the block will be returned to the government," it said.