International Coal Ventures Ltd, a venture of public sector companies that includes NTPC, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and NMDC for acquiring foreign coking coal reserves, has identified four-five assets, said C S Verma, chairman, SAIL, and chairman & managing director, NMDC, on Saturday. He did not disclose the names of the assets since they were bound by confidentiality clauses.
He added the joint venture’s board would meet later in the day here to take a call on the acquisitions.
“I consider this as an opportune time to go for the buyouts, with valuations down by half because the international coal prices have come down to less than $150 a tonne from a peak of $300 a tonne a couple of years ago,” he said.
The joint venture, formed in 2009, has been looking for coking coal reserves in Australia, the US and Mozambique for some time.
The ICVL was formed in 2009 following a mandate given by Government of India to these public sector entities to pursue overseas acquisitions to meet the country's future requirements.
According to Verma, India is currently importing 35 million tonnes of coking coal and this is expected to reach 125 million tonnes in future. India has only about 5 billion tonne reserves of prime grade coking coal, which is just 16% of the country's total coking coal reserves. Most of the coking coal produced domestically is being diverted to power projects due to lack of washeries that are needed to remove the ash content.