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India may tap into Polish coal resources

World Coal,

India is considering importing coking coal from Poland to guard against price increases. The country currently purchases almost three-quarters of its imported coking coal from Australia.

Talks are still at an early stage, and any decision made will be based on prices offered, according to federal steel secretary G. Mohan Kumar. India may also purchase deep mining equipment from Poland to boost production in its underground coal mines, according to Katarzyna Kacperczyk, under-secretary of state at Poland’s foreign affairs ministry.

High costs

Mohan Kumar reportedly commented: “We’re willing to consider Poland as an option. European costs are high because of environmental issues. So, the price will have to be right.”

A tendency to rely heavily on Australia for coking coal has left India steelmakers exposed to price increases. A number of mills, including Steel Authority of India Ltd and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, are switching to suppliers in countries including the US and Canada for coal to fuel their blast furnaces.

‘Enduring partnership’

In an interview in New Delhi, Kacperczyk commented: “We see India as a big market for our coking coal and coke and also for our deep mining equipment, which can help mitigate risks of accidents in Indian mines. We don’t want to just sell our coal and machinery and leave. We are looking for an enduring partnership.”

Poland has no immediate plans to sell stakes in its coal mines, Kacperczyk explained. Media in January reported that a consortium of Indian state-run companies led by Steel Authority of India was in acquisition talks, however this was purely speculative.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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