Tata group is looking at the assets of Australia's New Hope Corp, a $5 billion coal miner that put itself up for auction last month, an

Time

Time for New Hope: Tata Group

d could consider a bid in the future, a reliable source revealed on Saturday. It added that discussions are at a preliminary stage.

Tata group firms Tata Power and Tata Steel have been on the lookout for coal assets in recent years to feed their growing raw material requirements. Utility Tata Power said in a statement, it is continuously evaluating various opportunities to acquire resources including coal mines globally, but did not offer any specific comment on any specific deal.

A spokesman for world's No.7 steel maker Tata Steel said that the company is evaluating various options for raw material assets but declined to comment on any specific deal.

New Hope is considering a break-up and asset sales amid interest from global resource companies, sources had said last month.

Another Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group is also considering bidding for the coal miner, while other interested players include India's JSW Steel, China's Yanzhou Coal Mining Co and London-listed Xstrata.

India holds 10 percent of the world's coal reserves but local supplies are falling short of demand, as the country builds more power plants, hence domestic firms have been scouting for coal assets overseas.