CIL may invest in Canadian coal assets

Written by Indronil Roychowdhury | Kolkata | Updated: Apr 9 2014, 11:11am hrs
Coal India (CIL) on Tuesday got a proposal from the Canadian government to invest in its coal assets, which could help the company expand its global foot print.

Stewart Beck, the Canadian high commissioner to India, met CIL director technical N Kumar and gave him a proposal to evaluate coal assets in Canada. Kumar has confirmed meeting the high commissioner.

Sources say the Canadian government has invited the company to evaluate assets in British Columbia and undertake sustainable mining. There were some preliminary discussions and we will evaluate their proposal, Kumar said. He, however, didnt want to divulge any details of the proposal but said it was a second proposal from any government the first being from South Africa.

CIL has already acquired coal assets in Mozambique and plans to start mining there by FY17. But according to a CIL official, although the company has been eying assets in Myanmar and Botswana and has been trying to pick up stakes in Indonesian coal assets, the company has preferred going slow in terms of picking foreign assets despite being flushed with funds and the demand- supply gap in India on the rise.

Sources said British Columbia has a 20-billion tonne reserves and there are ten mines operational at present. At least nine mines are at various stages of exploration and Chinese miners have already shown interest to produce 8 million tonne from three mines.

However, the Canadian government is keen on having CIL on board in exploring mining opportunities there since the company has the ability to operate mines complying with the environmental norms of Environmental Assesment Office.

Most coal reserves in British Columbia are along the banks of the Peace River, which has a huge conservation of shell fish. CILs mining practices are environmentally sustainable, which makes the Canadian government keen on roping it in, a Canadian High Commission official said.