Indian firm keen to source coal from South Africa

thermal-smeethchowdhary-flickrIndia Power Corporation Limited (IPCL) is seeking coal assets in South Africa for its 1,000MW thermal power projects

Local reports have stated that IPCL has floated a wholly-owned subsidiary named Swayambhu Natural Resources Private Limited to source coal feedstock for existing and planned power projects like the 450MW plant in Haldia and 540MW plant in Raghunathpur — both in the east Indian state of West Bengal.

Hemant Kanoria, chairperson of IPCL, said, ”We are looking at coal mines already in operation or nearing production in South Africa and Indonesia. A few proposals for some assets are being examined and due diligence is under way. Our target is 100 per cent buy-back of coal from mines having reserves ranging five million to 25mn tonnes.”

South Africa’s leading power utility entity Eskom said that the country produces 224mn tonnes of coal every year and is the seventh largest coal producer after China, USA, India, Indonesia and Russia. Prominent coal mines are located in Waterberg, Sasolberg, South Rand, Utrecht, Kilpriver and Soutpansberg. South Africa exports nearly a quarter of its coal.

According to the IPCL chairperson, there are sufficient coal reserves in India and the government is working on developing mine development operators to augment production and productivity.

In the medium term, IPCL would be sourcing coal from the spot markets and also through short-term agreements with international coal asset owners in Indonesia, added Kanoria.

However, domestic sourcing would depend on purchases through e-auctions from Coal India Limited (CIL) and coal rejects from local washeries. IPCL is also ready to bid for coal blocks at the forthcoming auction of reserves by the Indian Coal Ministry.

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