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India could allow commercial coal mining in the near future

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World Coal,

Private companies could be allowed to mine and sell coal in India in the near future, the country’s Minister for Coal and Power told Reuters last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Piyush Goyal said that he would be dealing with bids for captive mining from power, steel and cement companies first but would then turn his mind to opening up the sector to commercial mining.

“Once my actual user requirements are broadly met, I’m hoping to start opening up to private mines,” said the minister. “I’m not applied my mind entirely to it […] but somewhere in the near future I do see that happening.”

India currently only allows Coal India to sell coal on the open market but the state-owned miner has consistently failed to meet its production targets, leaving the country’s coal consumers short on the fuel and reliant on more-expensive coal imports.

The situation was made worse when India’s Supreme Court voided the majority of coal licenses awarded for captive mining since the practice began in the early 1990s.

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