Indian-owned mining firm Gujarat NRE Coking Coal has announced plans to invest $500 million in the expansion of its coal mines in New South Wales.
The company will invest up to $100 million this year, with the rest to be invested over the next four years.
Gujarat NRE owns and operates two underground coal mines in the Illawarra region. The company reinvigorated the local industry when it originally bought two mines that had ceased operations, and invested over $270 million to revive the mines, creating 450 new jobs over the years.
Chairman of Gujarat NRE Arun Kumar Jagatramka said, “The proposed expansion is expected to quadruple production capacity in the two mines and create an additional 150 jobs, including some apprenticeships, in the next five years.
“India is our primary export destination, and the demand for coking coal in India is expected to double over the next 10 years. This bodes well for the long-term future of our operations in Illawarra,” Mr Jagatramka said.
Gujarat NRE’s expansion plans include mine development, construction of access roads and purchase of services and equipment.
The mines, NRE No 1 Colliery and NRE Wongawilli Colliery, together produce about 1.3 million tonnes of coking coal a year. The expansion is expected to increase output to about 6 million tonnes a year by 2014-15.
Gujarat NRE Coking Coal is the subsidiary of India’s largest metallurgical coke producer, Gujarat NRE Coke Limited.
Mr Jagatramka said the company sources all technology, equipment and services for their local operations in Australia.
“We source conveyor products and diesel equipment for the mines from Valley Longwall International and One Steel provides the roof mesh for the mines. Some technology and services for our Indian operations are also sourced from Australia,” he said.
The company is active in the local community, recently providing a $1 million bank guarantee for the local basketball team, the Wollongong Hawks, to participate in the National Basketball League.
Gujarat NRE received support from Austrade, the Australian Government’s trade and investment development agency, and the New South Wales State Government to establish in Australia.
Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner for South Asia, Peter Linford welcomed Gujarat’s ongoing commitment and said that it was indicative of the growing interest from Indian investors in Australia.
“Already, Indian companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list such as Reliance Industries and State Bank of India have invested in Australia. Suzlon Energy, Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, and leading global ICT players like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro also have a major presence here.
“India’s global foreign direct investment (FDI) increased almost six-fold from USD 2.9 billion in 2005 to USD17.4 billion in 2008, positioning India as a major player in global FDI outflow.
“More Indian firms are looking to expand operations globally, presenting significant opportunities in areas of traditional strength for Australia. Australian firms wanting to attract investment, and businesses which facilitate investment projects in Australia like banks and financial institutions, legal firms, consultancies, and other support services are the potential winners,” Mr Linford said.
Mr Jagatramka and Mr Linford will also speak at Austrade’s Winning Business in India and South Asia seminars (19 – 30 March) .