News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Government treads lightly on coal linkage auction policy; light shed on 45 year old tragedy; and Indonesian state coal miner in talks with Freeport Indonesia.

Noel Dyson

Auction holding pattern

State-owned coal miner CIL has been told by the Indian government that the policy regarding the auction of coal linkages could take more time to be finalised.

“An in-principle decision has already been taken that the future linkages to the non-regulated sector shall be granted through a transparent process of competitive bidding through auction route,”The Economic Times quotes the Coal Ministry saying.

“The policy regarding auction of linkages may take some more time to be finalised.”

In a letter to Coal India dated September 15, the ministry further said that it had been decided CIL could open a separate e-auction window exclusively for non-power sector players for up to 4 million tonnes, the paper reports.

Light on 45 year old case

A coal mine investigator has said in an affidavit that a coal mine electrician told him that he and his superior had disconnected an alarm on a methane ventilation fan prior to the November 20 1968 Farmington mine explosion that killed 78.

The Exponent Telegram also reports that former federal mine inspector Lawrence Leroy Layne’s affidavit contends that it was his understanding that the electrician and his superior “acted at the direction of” Consolidation Coal.

The affidavit was tendered in the court case considering a class action laws suit regarding the incident.

There were 99 people working in the mine at the time of the explosion and 59 of the 78 bodies were recovered before all entrances to the workings were sealed.

Nineteen remain buried in the mine.

Freeport coal talks

Indonesian state-owned coal miner Bukat Asam is working to supply coal to Freeport Indonesia, a local unit of US miner Freeport-McMoRan as part of the government’s plans for Freeport to use more locally-based products, the Jakarta Globe reports.

The paper writes that talks between Bukat Asam and Freeport were conceived amid calls from Industry Minister Saleh Husin calling for Freeport to utilise more local components and products.

Freeport Indonesia has reportedly earmarked up to $US1.7 ($A2.4) billion in capital expenditure this year and $1.16 billion of that is earmarked for local spending.