India will allow private mining firms, including foreign ones, to enter the coal mining sector next month to help increase energy supplies in the country, the
newspaper reported on Monday.
Only power, steel and cement firms are currently allowed to own coal mines, which they operate jointly with mining firms. The new rules will allow mining firms to own and run mines, the paper said, citing unnamed sources in the coal and law ministries.
The newspaper said mining companies, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Sesa Goa, would soon be able to gain rights to mine and operate coal mines in India, boosting production.
"We are now in the final stages of drafting guidelines for allowing captive coal block allocation to private-sector mining companies too. This is expected to be notified by the month-end or in early November," the report quoted a government source as saying.
The government will invite bids from mining companies after the new policy is announced, the report said.