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`India to seek uranium import from Australia`

India will try to persuade Australia to supply uranium to it during a bilateral meeting on energy here on Monday.

Perth: India will try to persuade
Australia to supply uranium to it during a bilateral meeting
on energy here on Monday, seeking flexibility on Canberra`s
longstanding position that it would not export the nuclear raw
material to countries who are not signatories to the NPT.

"There are plans to initiate some discussion for
sourcing uranium from Australia. Though at present the Labour
government here has already made it clear that it would not
supply uranium (to countries) who have not signed the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty," Union Power Minister Sushilkumar
Shinde said here.

Shinde is leading an Indian delegation to participate
in the two-day Australia-India Energy and Minerals Forum
starting tomorrow.

India has set a revised target of producing 62,302 MW
of energy by 2011-12. At present, it produces 1.59 lakh MW of
power, in which NTPC has a major share.

The government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made
it clear that Australia, a major producer of uranium, will not
supply the material to NPT non-signatories -- Indian being one
of them.

India is working on a clean energy portfolio, in which
uranium-run plants would play vital role besides mega plans to
tap wind and solar energy. At present, Nuclear Power
Corporation of India produces power using uranium available in
the country.

Besides, Shinde said he will seek Australian
government`s support for the acquiring of coal mines in
Australia by Indian companies.

Indian firms like Coal India Ltd and NTPC are scouting
for opportunities for acquiring coal mines in Australia even
as the government there has proposed imposing a super profit
tax of 40 per cent on mining in the country.

Indian companies in the power, steel and other
industrial segment including the likes of Tata Steel, Essar
Group and others are already importing USD 6 billion worth of
coal every year from Australia, which is expected to increase

Besides coal, Shinde said he will also talk about
importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Australia.

India will seek additional LNG supplies for its
fuel-starved projects even though coal continues to play a
major role in power generation in India.

India imported coal worth USD 6 billion from Australia
during the last fiscal besides sourcing iron ore and gold of
the same value.

The domestic coal demand-supply gap is currently
pegged at 80 million tonnes even as the country saw an over 7
per cent growth in coal output at 531 million tonnes in

Moreover, with the government mandating all power
companies to import 15 per cent of their coal requirement for
a project and blending it with the domestic coal, such
companies have been on the look-out for overseas fuel

India imported 59 million tonnes of coal in 2009-10.
The shipments are expected to touch 100 million mark in the
current fiscal.


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