The Indian Ministry of Coal has called for expressions of interest from “strategic partners” in Australia as India struggles to keep up with its insatiable appetite for electricity.
India’s emerging middle class is expected to push the demand for coal imports up by 67 per cent by the end of 2020. Coal India former chairman PS Bhattacharya, in a recent statement indicated that Australian coal mining projects could be the answer India is looking for to fill the gap in their coal demands. The country is already struggling to fill a shortfall of up to 85 million tonnes of coal just for the remainder of 2012.
“Some of the biggest coal mining companies in Australia like BHP Billiton, right down the scale to the smaller iron ore producers, are all in lock-down mode,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.
Coal India (if it were successful in creating partnerships in Australia) would be among friends in the Australian coal mining industry, with Indian firms Adani and GVK already planning to pour billions of dollars of investment into coal mining projects in the Queensland, Galilee Basin. In May, India’s Minister for Coal Shri Jaisawal said it was time for India to “be more aggressive in acquiring energy assets abroad.”
Australian Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said he was supportive of any coal investment by any country “in principle”.
“Obviously all potential projects have to pass through the Foreign Investment Review Board process,” he said.
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