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International Coal Ventures (ICVL), a consortium led by the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), has shortlisted several coking coal mines in Australia, the US and Mozambique for acquisition.

ICVL chairman C S Verma told the Daily News & Analysis of India that the assets are at different phases of due diligence.

The company believes that now is the right time to purchase overseas coal projects due to stability in the coal prices after a considerably long period of fluctuations.

Verma told the publication, "There were a number of bids which were getting matured but we had to abandon the process because there was a high degree of volatility in the prices."

Over the last three years coal prices fluctuated between $100 and $350 per tonne.

Established in 2009 by public sector majors such as NTPC, Coal India, NMDC and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL), ICVL is still striving to become a successful venture.

NTPC, which owned 14% equity, has already quit the venture and Coal India is expected to follow suit.

India has been facing a severe shortage of coal, prompting the government to consider imports. State-owned entities have been scouting for overseas acquisitions to meet the domestic demand.

Last week, Coal India inked non-disclosure pacts with Australian miners to acquire international assets to overcome delays in mine start-ups in the domestic market and boost production.

With a sharp fall in coal and iron ore prices worldwide, several overseas assets are being put up for sale, mainly in Australia, the US, Africa and Indonesia.

Image: Over the last three years coal prices fluctuated between $100 and $350 per tonne. Photo: dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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