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Finance ministry is in talks with other ministries for selling stakes in around 60 state-run firms in coming years, including miner Hindustan Copper Ltd, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.

"Hindustan Copper is one of the companies in which government is considering to sell its stake," Sunil Mitra, who is in charge of disinvestment at the finance ministry, said in a telephone interview.

Media reports have said the company's board has already approved up to 20 percent of its stake sale in the fiscal year that starts in April 2010.

A 20-percent stake in the firm would be worth about $1.15 billion based on the stock's current price.

In November, the Indian cabinet approved a proposal to sell at least 10 percent government holding in state-run firms and use the proceeds for social schemes until March 2012, to cut its fiscal deficit.

The mines ministry must send a proposal to the finance ministry after the company gets approval from its board. Then, India's cabinet must give its approval for the company to tap the market.

"No proposal has been received as yet for 20 percent stake sale in Hindustan Copper (from Mines Ministry)," Mitra said.

The Indian government holds about 99.6 percent in the copper producer.

 

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