Coal India looking for coal resources abroad to bridge supply shortfall

State-run Coal India, the world's largest coal mining company today said that it was urgently seeking strategic alliances.

The alliances would be in the form of equity or offtake deals with major mining firms in Indonesia, Australia and the US and 10 producers had been shortlisted, Coal India director A K Sarkar told Reuters on the sidelines of the Coaltrans conference in Mumbai.

Sarkar said Coal India would not try to bridge the entire 81 million tonne coal supply gap but restrict itself to what the Central Electricity Authority instructs it to buy.

Notwithstanding the company's push to ratchet up domestic coal output, India would need to import thermal coal for the foreseeable future or at least for five years, he said.

India is expected to import 35 million tons of coal in the year starting 1 April, which is set to rise to 81 million tons in 2011-12 he said.

Indian companies are increasingly looking for coal resources in Indonesia and Australia to meet their power needs, according to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.