On Monday, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told Indian media the government would divest 10-15% of Coal India in the next six months.
But a week earlier Coal India chairman Partha Bhattacharyya told the Economic Times only 10% could be divested due to Indian regulatory hurdles.
Other reports suggest the state-owned coal producer will acquire stakes in 15-20 coal mines in Australia, Indonesia and USA in the next six months.
Coal India has long discussed its intentions to acquire international coal assets and last year sought expressions of interest from coal companies around the world.
While an acquisition is yet to be made, an Indian delegation toured Australian mines in September, including Rio Tinto’s Kestrel longwall mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. Jaiswal and Bhattacharyya were both part of the delegation.
A Rio spokesperson previously told ILN the company exported around 2 million tonnes of coking coal a year to India.
In a sign Indian coal companies are willing to open the purse-strings, Bucyrus won the country’s first-ever contract for a high-performance longwall installation from Singareni Collieries Company last week.