India eases rules and throws open coal mining to all companies

India’s Coal Ministry has amended eligibility rules which in effect will enable any company – foreign and even non-coal dependent – to participate in coal block auctions and commercial mining in the country.

Until now, the rules permitted only power, metals and mining companies to enter commercial coal mining without end-use restrictions and participate in the proposed auction of coal blocks. Under the new dispensation, any foreign company can bid for coal blocks and undertake mining projects through wholly owned subsidiaries as 100% foreign direct investment has been enabled in coal mining, subject only to the stipulation that such a wholly owned subsidiary should be registered in India.