Adani's grip on Australian coal for power

Aug. 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- As part of its $10.4 billion investment in Australia's coal exports to India, Indian energy giant Adani Enterprises Ltd. aims to control each stage, from mine to port, The Australian newspaper reports.

Adani recently acquired a 100 percent interest in the Galilee Coal Tenement in central Queensland, now known as the Carmichael Coal Project, considered the single largest tenement in Australia in terms of coal resources, with 7.8 million tons of coal.

Adani's investment for infrastructure and mine development includes a $3.1 billion railway network to haul the coal to two ports, one purchased this year and another yet to be built.

From there, company-owned bulk carriers would ship the coal to India to supply seven power stations operated by Adani Power, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises.

"Whatever component the coal touches, we would like to be in control of that," Jignesh Derasari, chief executive of Adani's Australian operations told The Australian, referring to Adani's development plan in the Galilee.

"So that means the mine, the rail, the port where the coal is transported out of, the ship that the coal sits on until it gets to the port in India. Then it goes on a conveyor belt to the power station."

Although natural gas and renewable energy are expected to play a greater role in India over the next 50 years, coal would remain the major source of energy for the country, Derasari said.

Coal accounts for approximately 67 percent of total energy production in India.

While Adani aims to become India's biggest private power company by 2020, it couldn't get domestic coal, The New York Times reports.

Although India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, much of it lies under forests in areas populated by tribal groups and proposed projects are typically met with protests.

For example, Adani was granted initial approval from India's power and coal ministries in 2009 to build a power plant in the state of Maharashtra. That deal included the right to develop a coal mine.

But India's Ministry of Environment blocked the mine project because of mounting protests regarding its location near a wildlife reserve.

Exports to India from the Galilee project are expected to start in 2015, with 60 million tons of coal forecast to be shipped annually by 2020. That amounts to about 15 percent of total Australian coal exports by volume and will generate about $2 billion annually in coal royalties to the Australia.

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