New Delhi: Coal India Ltd. (CIL) has rejected global major Rio Tinto’s bid for developing its abandoned and underground mines of coal, saying the company “falls short of expertise” to take up the venture.
“They (Rio Tinto) are a great company, but have not developed any abandoned mines. Their experience in underground mining and DPR also falls short of what our ‘Notice Inviting Tender´ (NIT) stipulates,” Coal India (CIL) chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya said.
Besides seeking a turn-key contract for the underground mines, Rio Tinto India had evinced interest in partnering with CIL for developing its 18 abandoned mines which have an estimated coal reserve of 1,647 million tonnes.
Rio Tinto India MD Nik Senapati, when contacted for comment, said: “We participated in the EoI (expression of interest) and are waiting for a decision to be made by Coal India.”
Navratna PSU CIL plans to produce about 100 million tonnes of coal from its underground operations by 2016-17.
The seven underground mines on offer by for revival possess about 20 million tonnes of coal.
Though the mines are to be awarded on a turn-key basis, Bhattacharyya said CIL will invest about Rs4,000 crore in it.
The country’s largest coal producer has already prepared NIT for the underground mines and is seeking comments from the nine short-listed companies out of the total 17. It is likely to float a tender for awarding the project next month.
Besides Rio Tinto India, the companies vying for the underground mines include Reliance Infrastructure, Indo Australian Mining and Bucyrus of Germany.
For the abandoned mines, being eyed by 12 corporate majors, including ArcelorMittal, Reliance, Sterlite, Essar and JSW Steel, the technical bids are under evaluation with Central Mining and Planning Development Institute.