India seeks long-term coal supply pact with Australia

India sees Australia as a potential source of coal supply as the two countries forge collaborative partnerships in the areas of mining and coal trade.

Interacting with the Australian minister of industry and resources Ian Macfarlane in Brisbane today, India's minister for steel Beni Prasad Verma spoke about the potential for supply of coal to India.

Verma, who is leading a delegation to Australia for strengthening ties between the two countries in areas of mining and coal supply, also met with the Australian minister of foreign affairs Ms Julie Bishop during a meeting of Australia-India Business Council.

''There is a huge potential for consumption of coking coal in India. Our country is looking for reliable raw material suppliers. I think Australia can consider supply of coking coal to Indian steel Industry on priority basis.''

''We plan to increase our steel production to 300 million tonnes from the present level of about 80 million tonnes. Our coal requirement is also set to rise in a decade's time,'' Verma said.

He also suggested exploring the possibility of a long term agreement between Australian miners and Indian steel producers for export of coking coal.

While Australia has been supplying coking coal to India and understands the potential of Indian steel industry, Macfarlane said the relationship between the two countries should be taken forward.

During the Australia–India Business council meeting, Verma shared his views about the steel industry and on issues of the economic cooperation.

Verma invited Australian businessmen to collaborate with Indian companies in areas of mining and coal trade.

The Indian delegation included the chairman of SAIL, NMDC and ICVL CS Verma, joint secretary in the ministry of steel S Abbasi, CMD of MOIL Ltd GP Kundergi and CEO of ICVL Ajay Mathur.