Coal India is considering switching to a global open-tender mode for developing its abandoned mines, a development that could inordinately delay the project.
CIL was hoping to float these joint ventures by the middle of 2010.
The world's largest coal miner is seeking to develop some 18 old mines with a total reserve of 1.6 billion tonnes of high-quality coking and thermal coal under joint venture arrangements with global underground mining companies. It had sought preliminary expressions of interest and had short-listed 10 companies.
But since CIL drew no response from them in the first round of tendering, it was forced to relax some conditions in the second phase, which is now under way. However, if this round also fails, the company may go for open global tendering, a process under which anybody can bid and there will not be any preliminary short-listing.
"It has now been decided that if the second round of tendering also yields no result, open global tendering route will be resorted to," said a senior CIL general manager who did not want to be named since he is not the spokesperson.
The abandoned mines include six of Eastern Coalfields, eight of Bharat Coking Coal and four Central Coalfields mines.
"None of the interested parties responded to the notice inviting tenders for joint ventures. Rather, some of the parties gave some suggestions for softer tendering conditions. Those suggestions were examined and accepted to the extent possible. The second round of limited tendering is in process," he said.
The short-listed firms included ArcelorMittal India, Rio Tinto, Titan Mining Company, JSW Steel, JSW Energy, Monnet Ispat, Essar Mineral Reserves, SNT Mining and Sunflag Iron & Steel.
The coal major, now the country's most valuable company by market capitalisation, had received between six and 10 applications of interest for every mine offered under BCCL and CCL jurisdiction, while for ECL it was between two and seven.