Coal India eyeing exploration in Africa

August 5th, 2008 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 5 (IANS) The state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) is eyeing exploration opportunities in Africa, a top company official said here Tuesday. “We have identified three blocks in Mozambique and are also planning to go to South Africa and Malawi,” CIL chairman Partha Sarathi Bhattacharyya told reporters here.

CIL is also sending a team to Mozambique this month to speed up the process.

“We will acquire coal property abroad through International Coal Ventures Ltd (IVCL),” Bhattacharyya said.

IVCL is a special purpose vehicle formed with some other leading companies to acquire coal assets overseas.

The coal available in Mozambique is mostly thermal, besides some coking coal variety.

He added that the company has floated expression of interest for 18 abandoned mines in Jharkhand and West Bengal to convert these into operational ones.

CIL along with its subsidiaries posted a pre-tax profit of Rs.87.38 billion ($2.1 billion) in 2007-08, up from Rs.86.22 billion of 2006-07.

“We expect a profit before tax of Rs.100 billion this fiscal,” Bhattacharyya said.

The company paid an interim dividend of Rs.17.05 billion to the government.

CIL, which supplies 46 percent of the total energy in India, gives coal at one-third price compared to global players to its customers, said Bhattacharyya.

The company increased price only once between 2003-04 and 2007-08, as the annualised price hike of coal stands at 2.4 percent, he added.

In the first quarter of the current fiscal, the company produced 6.5 million tonnes more coal compared to the corresponding period last fiscal. During the quarter, the total production stood at 112.81 million tonnes against 106.07 million tonnes a year ago.

Out of this total production, 98.79 million tonnes have come from open-cast mining and 14.03 million tonnes from underground mining.

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