Mumbai: Leading private utility Tata Power on Thursday said it will continue to look for coal mines abroad for fuel security as the domestic supply shortage has been impacting its operations.
"We are already scouting for coal mines overseas. We are looking at Indonesia and South Africa for acquiring coal mines," Tata Power Executive Director for Operations S Padmanabhan told reporters here.
The price of imported coal is nearly double the domestic rates. Hence, the companies are not keen on running their plants on such coal supplies alone as they are not able to pass on the price difference to discoms in most cases.
While a tonne of imported coal is priced at USD 110, the same is available in the domestic market at half that cost. But the state-run Coal India is able to supply only around 70 percent of the domestic demand.
Coal India produces 440 million tonnes, while the demand is 650 million tonnes. Coal India meets the gap through imports.
Explaining the rationale for owning more mines overseas, Padmanabhan said, "Given the demand for the fuel for our power plants and the shortage of domestically produced coal, we have to depend on imports."
Though he did not elaborate on the timeline for any such deal or the quantum of funds earmarked for this, he explained that this would not be an outright purchase but mostly picking up stakes in already operating mines.
At present, the company sources coal from four mines in Indonesia and two from Australia.
First Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 17:30