Accessibility links

India Eyes Australian Coal as Domestic Demand Soars

  • Phil Mercer

India's minister of state for coal, Sriprakash Jaiswal, is in Australia looking to secure energy supplies. The visit is part of India's plans to invest in foreign resources companies as domestic demand for coal continues to outstrip supply in one of the world's fastest growing economies.

India is consuming more coal than it can produce or import, so a senior government minister has been sent to Australia to look at ways to secure additional supplies.

Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal. In 2007, the trade was worth more than $20 billion, and sales to Japan accounted for almost half of all exports.

India will increase its domestic production of coal by more than seven percent this year but will still need to import ore to keep up with demand in one of the world's red-hot economies.

Speaking in Sydney, India's state minister for coal, Sriprakash Jaiswal, says he is seeing what Australian exporters have to offer.

"It's my duty to visit all the countries where coal is available and Australia is one of those countries where coal is available and superior quality coal is available. So, we are in search of some foreign coal," he said.

His delegation on Friday meets with Australia's energy minister and has visited coal mines in New South Wales and Queensland.

New Delhi is keen to boost its fossil fuel imports as more than half of India's electricity is generated by coal-fired plants.

India also is looking to buy supplies from the United States, South Africa and Indonesia as it attempts to solve its fuel shortages.

China also wants a larger slice of Australia's lucrative trade in coal and other natural resources to underpin its own economic expansion.

New figures show that Chinese steel mills are buying a record amount Australian iron ore. Shipments rose by 17 percent in July, which reaffirm China's position as the largest market by far for Australia iron ore and a sign that trade has not been derailed by recent diplomatic tensions.

Relations between Australia and China have recently soured over Canberra's decision to grant a visa to an exiled ethnic Uighur activist and the arrest in Beijing of an Australian mining executive accused of infringing trade secrets and bribery.

Australia's resources sector has been damaged by the global slowdown but the government in Canberra thinks renewed growth in China and India will once again lead to positive economic growth.

XS
SM
MD
LG