Massey said Wednesday that the two will "jointly evaluate and develop select business opportunities on a project-by-project basis" in India as part of a non-binding agreement and will also look at developing coke ovens and a coal preparation facility to be erected to join an Essar power plant in India.
Massey pointed out that the partnership will not be limited to India or just to coal, given Essar controls diverse assets in steel, energy, power, communications and construction.
"The potential for synergies between the two companies is readily apparent," said Massey chairman Don Blankenship.
"Essar is looking to dramatically increase its steel production and energy generation in the coming years.
"Massey has some of the best metallurgical and steam coal reserves in North America and the expertise to develop modern, cost-effective coal mining and processing operations overseas to fuel the expansion.
"We have been developing a relationship with Essar for some time and are optimistic about the potential to work and grow profitably together."
The plan is also a strategic move for Massey, which is seeking to expand its global horizons. Because of Essar's India foothold, the producer will also have access to an area where significant growth has been seen in coal and steel.
A request for comment from the operator about how it will impact current holdings was not immediately returned Wednesday.
"Our companies have the technical expertise and marketplace knowledge that will allow us to expand and leverage mutual opportunities in India and around the world," said Essar chief executive J Mehra.