Sajjan Jindal-owned JSW Energy is likely to join the race with Essar group, Hyderabad-based GVK and Lanco Infratech to bid for the coal mines that have been put on the block by Australian coal mining major Hancock Coal. Hancock Coal is seeking a buyer for two of its coal mines Alpha Coal and Kevin's Corner, which are located in Galilee Basin in the coal-rich Queensland. The combined reserves of both coal mines can be as high as 7.6 billion tonnes of thermal coal which was used to produce electricity. The life of these mines is almost 30 years. JSW's bid will have to match the six bids which have already been accepted by the Hancock management after a first round of review. The bids are close to $2 billion each. If the bid goes through, this would be the second such coal mine acquisition for JSW Energy which has signed an agreement to acquire Toronto-listed CIC Energy. The company has a mining-cum-power complex in Botswana, Africa, for which the company has agreed to pay $418 million (Rs 1,895 crore). The Alpha Coal project, the bigger of the two mines, is an open cut coal mine. Alpha alone has 3.6 billion tonnes of resources that have been vetted by the Joint Ore Resources Committee. Kevin's Corner, which is currently under development, has the capacity to produce 30 million tonne per annum. However, it is a tough coal block to mine. Construction in this mine was expected to start this year and production was expected to start during the later part of 2013. Australia has recently become a preferred destination for many Indian companies.
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