ICVL may buy coal assets in Australia
Sharad Matade 25 February 2011

ICVL, the joint venture between five State-owned companies, is also participating in the bidding process for acquisition of equity in some underdeveloped coal assets abroad

International Coal Venture Ltd (ICVL) is reviewing several proposals for acquiring coal assets in Australia with a view to examining their suitability and viability, according to a statement made by coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal in the Lok Sabha.
ICVL, a joint venture of five State-owned companies-Steel Authority of India, Coal India Limited, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, NMDC Limited and NTPC, has been formed for securing metallurgical coal and thermal coal assets in overseas territories.
The company is also participating in the bidding process for acquisition of equity in some underdeveloped coal assets abroad, said the minister.
However, Mr Jaiswal added that no acquisition has been made so far.
ICVL, at the time of its constitution, had set itself a target to buy at least one coal asset by the end of March, but has made no progress yet.
Steel and power companies in India are facing difficulties in securing coal mines, due to problems with environment clearances and stiff opposition from local communities.
Indian steel companies' demand for coking coal is met by imports, as the country merely produces coking coal. Demand for coking coal has been growing as State-owned and private players are ramping up production capacity.
ICVL has identified Indonesia, Mozambique, the USA and Colombia as target countries for acquisition of coal assets and proposals received from these countries are also under review, added Mr Jaiswal.
 Power companies are also facing shortage of thermal coal supply in the country. In its recent report, ICRA says, "The demand-supply gap in the domestic industry is likely to widen significantly over the medium- to long-term as many large-size, coal-based power projects are expected to be commissioned over this period. Many of these projects were conceived on the premise that domestic coal would be available to them in the required volumes."
 Since the last quarter, prices of coking coal and iron ore have been shooting up in international markets, as the floods in Queensland (Australia) has disrupted mining and shipments of coal, amid surging demand.
The coal will be sourced from assets-once they are acquired-and would primarily be used by the promoter companies of ICVL, the minister added.

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