India to ease mining rules from March to spur investment – minister

India will lift restrictions on the use of coal mined domestically and ease bidding rules from March, a minister said on Wednesday, as the country aims to attract foreign mining companies and reduce imports of the fossil fuel.

India plans to introduce global tenders for coal mining blocks in March, coal minister Pralhad Joshi said after cabinet approved the plans, a move that could end state-run Coal India Ltd’s (COAL.NS) near-monopoly of the fuel.

Previously, the government restricted the end use of the fuel, with winners of coal block auctions only allowed to use output for specific purposes and not to sell it in the open market. That attracted criticism from the industry which said the rules discouraged bidding.

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