The government today said state-owned Coal India is hunting potential avenues for buying stakes in coking coal blocks overseas.
In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said, "CIL (Coal India) is pursuing available opportunities for buying equity stakes in coking coal mines abroad."
He said though the CIL Board had last year advised the company to explore the opportunities of acquiring coal assets overseas, very few prospective blocks in foreign nations have come up for sale.
Coking coal is used mainly in steel-making.
Stating that the entire demand of coking coal is not met indigenously, Goyal said Indian consumers import metallurgical coal mainly from Australia.
Six coking coal mines are going to be auctioned, he said.
During April-September of the ongoing fiscal, 22.6 million tonne (MT) (provisional) of coking coal was imported.
While in the last fiscal, 41.6 MT coking coal was imported, in 2015-16, the import was 43.5 MT.