Indonesian state-owned miner, PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTM.JK), said on Wednesday that it is looking at two coal-mining firms as possible acquisitions to meet its rapidly rising energy needs.

The company said last year it planned to acquire coal mines as it expects coal consumption to rise significantly when it completes a new power plant near its nickel mine in Pomalaa, on Sulawesi island.

We are focusing on two coal-mining firms in East Kalimantan. We are now doing the due diligence, Alwin Syah Loebis, Antam's president director, told reporters.

Hopefully, we will have a better picture by the middle of this year, he said, without disclosing the names of the companies or value of the deals.

Alwin said the acquisitions would be funded partly by cash.

Antam consumes about 200,000 tonnes of coal a year to power its ferro-nickel smelters, but annual consumption may rise to 2 million tonnes once the new power plant is completed, he said.

The $350 million coal-fired power plant, due to be built as a joint venture with an independent power producer, will have a 150-megawatt capacity. Construction is due to start in 2010 and take between 18 and 24 months, the firm has said.

Alwin said that Antam could initially sell the coal, before its power plant is up-and-running.

Antam, 65 percent-owned by the Indonesian government, is involved in the exploration and production of nickel ore, bauxite and iron sands, smelting of ferro-nickel, as well as the exploration, production and refining of gold and silver. (Writing by Fitri Wulandari; editing by Sara Webb)© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved