Mr B L Bagra, director (finance), Nalco, said that while MEC fully qualified for the deal, Bumi qualified on most of the critical criteria.

According to him, the benchmark criteria to bid for the Indonesian project included minimum coal reserves of 500Mt, infrastructural approvals, land must have been acquired and mining experience.

Nalco plans to set up a 500kt/y smelter and a 1250MW power plant in Indonesia.

Mr Bagra said the company had sought more information from Bumi: “Once they do that, we will begin the discussion on commercial terms with the two and finally choose one for the coal supply.”