New Delhi: State-owned Coal India is in negotiations to pick 15% stake in a joint venture with US-based coal firm Peabody Energy’s $600 million mining project in Australia, says a government official.
Both the companies are mulling to form a joint venture company (JVC) to begin the project - Wilkie Creek coal mine, in Queensland, Australia, owned by the Peabody, a Coal Ministry official told PTI.
The US-based firm will have 85% holding in the JVC, while the rest will be owned by the Maharatna firm.
“The joint venture firm in which Coal India will have 15% stake will operate Wilkie Creek Mine,” the official said.
The proposal also came up for discussion in the Coal India Board meeting on 14 May and it was decided to refer the same to the Coal Ministry for certain clarifications.
“The Coal Ministry had earlier said that acquisition of the property in the overseas market will be confined to listed companies so that the there is not much problem during the valuation of the deal,” the official said.
However, since the proposed company would not be listed, “The board has said to refer the proposal to the government seeking clarifications whether Coal India can go ahead with the deal if the principal (Peabody) is listed,” the official added.
In February, a Coal India official had said it is likely to buy up to a 15% stake in US-based Peabody Energy Corp’s Australian assets in early 2011-12 for an estimated $100 million (about Rs 450 crore).
Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private sector coal company, with sales of 246 million tonnes (MT) in 2010. The company claims to have 9 billion tonnes of reserves and manages and owns interest in 28 mining operations in the US and Australia.
Apart from Peabody, the company is also negotiating with US firm Massey Energy and Indonesian Novem/Sinarma for a possible partnership on their respective mining projects in the US and Indonesia.