New Delhi, India --- MININGREVIEW.COM --- 27 March, 2008 - African mining industries – particularly those in South and Southern Africa – may be called on to assist India’s ambitious effort to effect a fivefold increase in the supply of coal by non-State-run producers within four years.
Bloomberg News reports from here that coal production may be required to rocket from the current 20 Mt to as much as 105 Mt by 2012 to meet sharply rising demand.
India's economy – the third-largest in Asia – has grown by more than 8% annually since 2003, increasing the need for coal for power producers, cement companies and steelmakers to make cars and appliances. Coal India Ltd., the state-owned monopoly, plans to acquire mines overseas in the next two years to meet demand – and Southern Africa is seen as a key potential supply region.
Bloomberg News – quoting marketing director K Ranganath – reports that the company plans to buy coking coal mines in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, as well as Australia, and thermal coal mines in South Africa and Indonesia. Thermal coal is used to generate power and coking coal is a key steelmaking ingredient.
Meanwhile allAfrica.com – quoting “Leadership Nigeria” – reports that a three-day India-Africa business summit – organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Exim Bank of India – has ended in New Delhi with African countries courting the Asian giant to compete with China in exploiting the continent's mining industry.
According to the internet news agency, during the summit – which attracted over 500 delegates from 30 African countries – African representatives expressed the desire to see India exploit the continent's vast mineral resources in a rational manner benefitting both the Asian giant and Africa's host countries.
Zambian commerce minister Felix Mutati, was quoted by the Indo-Asian news agency as saying Africa would prefer Indian investment because the country had traded in Africa for a long time, and the African countries and India understood one other.
Mutati said that apart from exploiting the mineral resources of Africa, Indian companies should also concentrate on exploring the prospects for supplying equipment to the African mining industry, as well as the processing of raw materials on the African continent.
Mozambique Investment Promotion Centre deputy director Mussa Uthman said his country had extensive reserves of diamonds, copper and nickel which could be exploited viably by Indian companies. “One of India's steel giants, Tata Steel, is already in Mozambique exploiting our vast coal reserves,” he pointed out.