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MUMBAI, India • State-run Coal India, the world's largest coal producer, is continuing talks with Peabody Energy Corp. and Massey Energy Co. about acquiring some of those companies' mines, Coal India's chairman said Friday.

"They expressed interest in offering certain mines to us and we are looking at that," Partha Bhattacharyya told The Associated Press. "The discussions are continuing."

He declined to discuss where the mines are located or what the deal value might be.

In April, St. Louis-based Peabody confirmed news reports that the companies were holding talks. No details were released at that time.

Coal India has budgeted $1.2 billion to buy assets in the U.S., Indonesia and Australia during the year ending March as it battles a widening gap between domestic coal supply and demand.

The company, which last month raised $3.4 billion in the nation's biggest-ever initial public offering, has near-monopoly control of India's coal market.

Indian companies are increasingly turning to the U.S. to secure vital commodities to fuel the nation's breakneck growth.

This year, Reliance Industries — India's most valuable company by market value — bought stakes in three U.S. shale gas companies for a combined $3.4 billion. And in March, India's Essar Group spent $600 million to acquire Trinity Coal, a U.S. producer with mines in Kentucky and West Virginia.

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