Coal India to step up foreign joint venture to meet domestic supply

Coal India, the country's largest coal mining company is scouting for exploration and mining ventures overseas to step up supplies to Indian user companies, according to a senior executive.

Director (technical), Coal India, NC Jha said on Wednesday that the state-run company has floated a joint venture firm, Coal India Mosambique for exploring opportunities in the African country. Additionally, CIL has also shortlisted 11 firms from the US, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia and is expected to start negotiations with them to launch joint venture operations. The company will invest Rs3000 crore for such overseas operations Jha added.

He said the company will initially invest around Rs500 crore for overseas exploration. He added that in Mozambique, where the company has two coal blocks with reserves of one billion tonnes, exploratory phase may start by the end of the current year.

He said that the company has received expressions of interest from around 53 countries of which 11 have been shortlisted.

With the surging demand for coal from power companies in the country, India is left with a yawning demand-supply gap which was at 59 million tonnes at the end of the last fiscal year. The gap is expected to widen even further.

When the 100,000 MW capacity goes on stream by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan, the country would need an additional 500 million tonne of coal each year, Jha said. CIL has a target of 520 MT by 2012 end as against the current capacity of 404 MT.