Coal India closing in on foreign coal mines

India is accelerating its program to invest in some 15-20 thermal coal mines in Australian, India and the USA, with state-owned Coal India aiming to finalise a deal in the next six months. Coal India chairman Partha Bhattacharyya said due diligence on the two best investment proposals in each country will start soon.

According to Matt Chambers in The Australian, Hancock Prospecting and Rio Tinto are among Australian miners talking to Coal India, whose domestic production already makes it the world's biggest coal producer. "Within six months we'll start closing deals," Mr Bhattacharyya was quoted as saying.

In July, Coal India called for expressions of interest from potential coalmining partners to cater to unprecedented growth in local demand. Under its 11th five-year development plan, India aims to provide all villages and houses below the poverty line with power and to boost economic growth to 10% by 2011-12.