Banpu to double coal output

THAILAND’S largest coal and power generating company Banpu is looking to more than double its annual coal production by 2008 through the investment of $US548 million in the Asia region over the next three years.

Ben Sharples

According to the Bangkok Post, Banpu will invest $US268 million in the company’s existing coal mining and power generation businesses at home and abroad, with the remaining $US280 to be allocated to coal exploration, new project studies and potential business takeovers.

Banpu has forecast coal production will increase to around 32 million tonnes by 2008. The Thai coal miner expects production to be around 18-20Mt this year, compared with 15Mt produced last year.

The company said future new coal production would likely come from Indonesia and China. Banpu will set aside $US17 million as an equity investment in Asian American Coal, in which Banpu holds a 12.49% stake. Asian American Coal is the operator of the Daning longwall mine in Shanxi province which began operations this year with an annual output of 1.7 million tonnes.

A further $US40 million will be invested as equity in Habi Zong Tai Mining Co in which it holds a 40% stake. Habi Zong operates a coal mine in Habi in Henan province producing 1Mtpa.

Banpu plans to fund its grand plans with its accumulated profits – totalling $US540 million – working capital worth $US200 million and cash at hand of around $US150 million.