Coal – a scarce
commodity in India
 
New Delhi, India — MININGREVIEW.COM — 5 March, 2008 – Coal India Limited, the Indian government-owned monopoly that controls most of the nation’s supply of the fuel, is looking at various countries –three of them in southern Africa– in its bid to buy coal mines overseas.

Reporting this development, Bloomberg News quoted Coal India marketing director K. Ranganath as saying that the company plans to buy coking coal mines in Australia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, as well as thermal coal mines in South Africa and Indonesia.

“The company is seeking mines producing at least 5 million metric tonnes a year to be commercially viable,” Raganath added. “We need the supplies to meet the country’s growing requirement. The mine has to be of a minimum size to justify setting up port facilities, working out shipping linkages and all other infrastructure.,” he continued.

“Coal India expects to spend US$2.2 billion (R16.5 billion) over five years to increase output as India faces a shortage of 51.1 million tons of coal by 2012,” Ranganath told a news conference here. “The company will use its own funds for the expansion. Production is expected to rise from 380 million tonnes now to 405 million next year and 520 million tonnes by 2011-12,” he added.

India may import 60 million tonnes of coal annually by 2012, Bloomberg News reported, and Coal India may import 20 million tonnes in the year starting April 1, 2008.

The Indian economy – Asia’s third-biggest – has grown more than 8 percent annually since 2003, boosting the need for coal for power producers, cement companies and steelmakers to make cars and appliances.