India’s coal shortage a boon for Australian miners

In what could be good news for Australia’s coal industry, India’s power plants are running out of stock, forcing the country to increase its import levels.

India already imports 20 per cent of its coal requirements and shipped in 152 million tonnes of coal last year.

However rising electricity demands are putting an increasing strain on local production, with state-run Coal India Limited (CIL) asked to up its output by importing more of the commodity to mix with domestic supply.

A source told The Economic Times that India’s power plants were not running at optimum levels, with more coal required to help in a ramp-up.

There are currently 65,000 MW of power generation projects out of action.

Although pooling will raise the cost of coal, it is seen as a way to help underperforming plants generate more electricity.

The demand for coal in India is expected to come in at 551.60 million mt in 2015, however supplies are predicted to amount to just 466.89 million mt, leaving an 84.71 million mt shortfall.

From 2010 to 2040, India’s net coal-fired electricity generation is expected to grow by a total of 910 terawatt hours, more than doubling from the 2010 total, while coal consumption for electricity generation will double.

Professor John Rolfe from CQUniversity said India would look to Australia for a reliable supply of high quality coal products.

Rolfe said this was particularly good news for coal miners in Queensland where a host of new multi-billion dollar mines were awaiting development approval in the Galilee Basin.

He said the election of Narendra Modi as India's Prime Minister in May was expected to result in faster growth in the country’s economy, ABC reported.

"The previous government were quite successful in the early stages at economic growth but over time that growth slowed and they ran into lots of problems trying to get major changes through the different states of India," Rolfe said.

"Modi's a breath of fresh air, he's also got a much bigger mandate, so he'll have a lot more power to make major changes in the economy."

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