NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's coal imports fell for a sixth month in December, a government official said Wednesday, as the world's third-biggest buyer of the fuel expands domestic mines to boost output and expand power generation.

India shipped in 12.35 million tonnes of coal last month, a 34.3 percent decline from the same month a year ago. Imports slipped thanks to a jump in production by state-run Coal India (COAL.NS), the world's biggest miner of the fuel that is opening one new mine a month as the government fast-tracks environmental clearances.

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"Record coal production by Coal India leads to further reduction in imports," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup tweeted.

Coal India's April-December production grew by a record 9 percent, keeping the country on course to reduce annual imports for the first time in five years.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal)