Eight foreign firms among 17 bidding for coal exploration

October 5th, 2008 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 5 (IANS) Leading coal miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) has received bids from 17 companies - both national and international - for extracting coal from 18 abandoned underground mines belonging to three of its subsidiaries.”We have received bids from 17 companies, eight of which are from overseas,” a source close to the development told IANS.

The bidders are Xindia Steels, Walter Southeast Asia, Afcon Infrastructure, Essel Mining and Industries, Sunflag Iron and Steel, Anglo American Services India, Indo-Australia Mining, Reliance Infrastructure, Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machineries, Essar Mineral Resources, Electrosteel Castings, Sainik Mining and Allied Services, Tiandi Science and Technology, Future Metals, European Ventures, Rio Tinto India and Bucyrus DBT Europe GmbH.

“The proposals are now being evaluated by the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI),” the official said.

CMPDI, a subsidiary of CIL, is one of India’s largest consultancy firms in the field of exploration, mine planning and environment management.

CIL had floated a global expression of interest (EoI) in May, inviting bids for underground mining jointly with the CIL or its subsidiaries. The private players enter into the joint ventures would have access to only 50 percent of the total production.

According to the global EoI notice, these 18 abandoned mines have an approximate reserve of 1.64 billion tonnes of coal.

Underground mining would be revived in six abandoned mines of Eastern Coalfields, eight mines of Bharat Coking Coal, and four mines of Central Coalfields, all subsidiaries of CIL.

Bidders can express interest for more than one mine.

For each mine, only one party would be finally selected after screening EoIs followed by bidding. In case of a single party being selected for more than one mine, all such mines would come under a single joint venture company to be formed between CIL and the selected company.

The joint venture will be managed by an independent board, in which both sides will have an equal number of directors.

Bidders are also required to have at least 10 years experience in economically operating underground coal mines in “difficult working conditions”.

They must have re-opened, salvaged and successfully operated at least one underground coal mine or part of the mine, abandoned for reasons of safety, and must have experience in dealing with underground coal fires.

Earlier, ArcelorMittal - headed by steel tycoon L.N. Mittal - and the Ispat group - headed by Mittal’s brothers Pramod and Vinod - had expressed interest to tie up with CIL through the nomination route.

CIL has seven coal producing subsidiaries and one mine planning and design institute. The company has identified 120 projects from which it plans to yield 292 million tonnes of coal during the ongoing 11th plan.

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