New Delhi: In order to ensure that Rs 6,000 crore earmarked for acquiring mines by Coal India abroad does not remain unutilised, a Parliamentary Panel has asked the coal ministry to fast-track the acquisition process.
It has also asked the ministry to expedite the tendering process for acquisition of coal blocks in countries such as Australia, USA and Indonesia.
The Panel has also asked the government to constitute a "dedicated team" of Coal India Ltd (CIL) to expedite the process of production of dry fuel from overseas mines.
"...what is really needed is to accelerate the completion of various exploratory works to ensure early production from such mines, so that outlay earmarked does not remain unutilised," Standing Committee on Coal and Steel has said in its recent report.
It added, "The committee would also like the ministry to expedite the tendering process for acquiring coal blocks in Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and USA".
CIL, which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic coal production, has earmarked Rs 6,000 crore for acquisition of mines abroad.
In 2009, the public sector firm had floated a global tender to select strategic partner(s) in the US, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.
A panel was constituted, which after examining the responses and proposals, shortlisted 12 companies in the first phase. The proposals were put before the maharatna firm board. Later, the board advised for only undertaking due diligence of listed companies.
"It was also directed that the unlisted companies may be informed that they may be considered if they can get themselves listed with stock exchanges," the Parliamentary Panel report said.
A couple of day backs CIL said that it has zeroed in on two overseas coal assets, one in Australia and the other in Indonesia, for acquisition and was likely to begin serious dialogue with the owners soon.
In this regard, CIL has also approached the government for relaxation of PSU guidelines, stipulating a minimum 12 percent internal rate of return on investments. It has also sought to sidestep the rule that only mines of listed companies should be acquired.
The maharatna firm through its wholly-acquired subsidiary Coal India Africana Limitada has also won two coal blocks in Mozambique. The preliminary exploration activities in the blocks have recently been started, the report said.
First Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011, 13:35