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Coal India seeking mines

Coal India Limited
chairman Partha S.
New Delhi, India — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 October 2009 – Coal India Limited “’ the nation’s monopoly producer of the fuel “’ says it expects to complete a mine acquisition by the end of March next year, and has hired Royal Bank of Canada to carry out due diligence on a deposit in Australia.

The state-owned company is seeking mines in South Africa, as well as the United States, Australia and Indonesia, and as many as 52 companies want to become its partners, chairman Partha S. Bhattacharyya told reporters here.

Coal India is already on record as saying that it may invest as much as US$1.5 billion (R12 billion) to acquire mines overseas to help overcome a shortage of coal, as the country plans to almost double its power generation capacity by 2012. It estimates a shortage of about 228 million tonnes a year of coal by March 2012.

Bhattacharyya and officials including Indian junior coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal visited Australia last month to assess potential acquisition targets. About 15 companies with coal operations in Australia have signaled that they are interested in possible agreements with an Indian partner, Partha Sen “’ a business development manager for the Australian Trade Commission “’ said in Sydney.

Coal India have secured two blocks in Mozambique that may hold a combined 1 billion metric tons of thermal coal, along with some coking coal, Bhattacharyya had said in an earlier interview.

India’s coal demand is expected to reach 731 million tonnes a year by March 2012, according to Coal India chief general manager of sales and marketing J. Goel. Hence the company wants local mining approvals sped up to boost domestic output.

Bloomberg News reports that companies, including NTPC Limited, Reliance Power Limited and Tata Power Company, plan to boost generation to meet demand in the world’s second fastest-growing major economy.