Coal India needs to import coal

PRODUCER Coal India is set to issue a 4 million tonne tender to start importing coal next year and intends to finalise the purchase of an overseas mine by March.

Blair Price

According to Reuters, a Coal India technical director revealed at an industry conference that the 4Mt tender would be issued in November for deliveries to arrive from January.

While the state-owned company went public on its plans to acquire an overseas coal mine some time ago, chairman Partha Bhattacharyya reportedly said “something will happen” regarding a final decision in the current Japanese financial year.

The chairman was part of an Indian delegation that toured Rio Tinto’s Kestrel longwall mine last month, with a Rio spokesperson saying the company annually exported around 2Mt of coking coal to India.

Coal India has previously stated it might invest up to $US1.5 billion ($A1.71 billion) in international mine acquisitions and has also forecast that India will need to import up to 200Mt of coal, thermal and metallurgical, by 2012.

ANZ analysts said Coal India was aiming to increase production by almost 8% to 435Mt in the current Japanese financial year, and the producer expects India to import 60Mt of coal in the same timeframe, up 3Mt from the previous year.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics expects Indian imports to rise 24% to 42Mt in 2009 and grow another 19% to 50Mt in 2010.

The Indian government announced in July that only 70% of its planned 14.5 gigawatts of new coal-fired electricity capacity would be added during the 2009-2010 financial year because of coal shortages.

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