India boosts coal imports from South Africa

Kolkata: India's coal purchases from South Africa for the month of December were up 54% from the same period last year on the back of rising domestic demand for fuel and disrupted supplies from flood-ravaged Australia.

Richards Bay Coal TerminalAccording to trader mJunction Services Ltd, Indian coal imports from South Africa had climbed to about 2Mt last month from 1.3Mt a year earlier. Total purchases for the year had risen to 21Mt last year from 17.8Mt in 2009.

mJunction is jointly run by Tata Steel Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd.

The fossil fuel accounted for 54% of India's power plant capacity as of 31 October 2010.

India has an ambitious plan to raise energy generation capacity to 200 000 megawatts from current levels by March 2012 in order to sustain economic growth of 8%.

Coal production in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia fell an estimated 20-30% after disruptions by the La Nina weather system, Credit Suisse Group AG said in a report.