Reuters reported that Anil Swarup, coal secretary for India, said, as power companies add capacity to meet rising demand even as millions go without electricity, India’s coal imports are expected to jump 19% to a record of about 200 million metric tons (mt) this fiscal year. He said shipments into the world’s third-largest coal importer are, however, likely to slide back to about 160 million mt next year, starting April 1, as state-run Coal India Ltd. (CIL) and private companies ramp up output.

India, which buys most of its coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa, is targeting to stop imports of power-generating thermal coal in the next few years, though purchases of high-grade steelmaking coal will continue. 

He said that CIL, the world’s largest coal miner, is expected to boost output by 50 million mt in 2015-2016 to 550 million mt. The government has set it a target of 1 billion mt by 2019-2020. Coal demand was estimated at 787 million mt for this fiscal year and is going to jump in the next few years, driven by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to supply power to all. About 280 million people in 56 million homes, or about a fourth of India’s 1.2 billion people, still go without electricity, even though coal-fired power generation has been rising steadily.

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