Vedanta Resources Plc and Nava Bharat Pte Ltd are reported to have submitted final bids to operate Zambia's largest coal mine.
ZCCM Investments Holdings, the owner of the mine, said that the duo would also construct a thermal power station, the capacity of which is estimated at around 350MW.
ZCCM-Investments Holdings's CEO William Musama said a preferred bidder would be selected soon, though he gave no details.
Vedanta, along with Nava Bharat were shortlisted in October in response to the bid from ZCCM-Investments Holdings (ZCCM-IH), the owner of Maamba Collieries Ltd. Thereafter they were asked to submit their final offers, which they have, submitting their technical and financial offers.
The submission of the technical and financial offers is the start of the final process, which had been initiated when ZCCM-IH issued a tender in 2007 inviting foreign participation by way of bids for revamping the operations of Maamba Collieries and building a power plant.
Around 10 firms had bid to develop the power station and be an equity partner in the coal mine. Vedanta already has a presence in Zambia, being the majority shareholder in Konkola Copper Mines, which is the country's largest copper producer.
Maamba Collieries produced around 600,000 tonnes of coal annually during the 1980s. However, prodiction slumped below 100,000 tonnes in more recent times on account of years of under capitalisation and operational losses. Reports said that Maamba Collieries had 78-million tons of known coal reserves that are due to last over 70 years, and the mine is said to have a production capacity of around a million tonnes of coal annually.