Companies & Sectors
The hole in coal: Regular supply remains a big issue

Despite the country’s abundant coal reserves, India is beginning to look at other nations to tie up its huge requirements. Environmental restrictions, militant activities & land-acquisition problems are hitting the coal industry hard

At a time when the world's largest coal producer Coal India Ltd (CIL) is set to come out with the largest initial public offering (IPO) in India, it is facing acute problems such as environmental regulations, threats from Maoists and lack of adequate transportation - which could hamper its operations significantly.

Just a few days before the IPO is scheduled to hit the market, CIL has revised its production target for the next financial year. The company has scaled down the production target by 6.5% to 486MT from 520MT following delays in environment approvals for various projects, said a media report citing an unnamed source familiar with the development. For this financial year, CIL plans to produce about 462MT, added the report.

"Due to mining-related problems, a prolonged monsoon in the eastern part of the country and particularly, the environment ministry's announcement of 'no-go' areas for mining for a few of CIL's reserves, the company might have taken the decision to reduce production targets," an analyst from ICICI Securities told Moneylife. However, he denied that there would be any impact of this cut on import prices. CIL officials were not available for comments.

"It will impact the company's sales volume, but there would be no major concern as there is still a marginal growth in their production target," a senior analyst from Systematrix Shares & Stocks Ltd told Moneylife. He also said, "If CIL has scaled down the production target for FY2011-12 then power companies will have to import more coal."

CIL, which accounts about 80% of coal production in the country, owns hundreds of coalfields in several states such as Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Orissa and most of the coal fields in these states are run under the Naxalite threat. Despite the country's abundant coal reserves, it is beginning to look at other nations for its requirements.

According to the Geological Survey of India, as on 1 April 2010, the inventory of total coal resources in the country was 276.81BT. However, out of these reserves, only 39.67% are in the 'proved' category, while the balance comes under 'inferred and indicated' category, minister of state for coal Sriprakash Jaiswal has told the Lok Sabha                              

     (Million Tonnes)

Please click to see the table

 Indian coal is traditionally considered low-grade coal due to high ash and low calorific value. Coking coal, mainly used for steelmaking, is imported from Australia, while Indonesia and South Africa export non-coking coal, used for power generation and cement, to India.

Demand for coking coal and non-coking coal is not being met fully at present from indigenous sources alone, admitted the minister. As per the Annual Plan 2010-11, coal demand has been estimated at 656.31MT but now production capacity is 572.37MT so the gap is likely to be met through imports

The production of coal has also been hampered by internal problems in the country.

As on 1 September 2010, CIL was facing time overruns in 26 projects being developed by its subsidiary.  Most of these projects are being delayed due to local protests in acquiring land, environmental clearances, strikes and technical problems.

Answering a question in the Lok Sabha, Mr Jaiswal on 4 August 2010 said that coal production in Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) in Jharkhand was affected adversely due to frequent strikes called by the Naxalite organisations and also due to stoppage of work because of threats meted out to the workforce engaged in coal production and transportation. CCL lost 11.26 lakh tonnes production till June this year. This is its biggest loss since 2007.

Please click to see the table

 Source: Ministry of Coal

 The ministry of coal is also facing stiff resistance from the ministry of environment & forests.  Currently, 63 coal mine projects are yet to receive environmental clearances and the government is also planning to close down unproductive and unviable underground mines - run by Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL) and Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), subsidiaries of CIL.

Saugata Roy, minister of state, Urban Development, has said that India's economy is expected to grow at 8% to 9%, while the power sector is required to grow at 9% to 10%. The deficit of coal by 2011-12 would be about 83MT, and around 200MT in 2013-14. He added that the industry is facing hurdles in launching new projects due to delays in obtaining forestry and environmental clearances, land acquisition and related rehabilitation and other clearances from state governments.

 In the last three years, coal supply (dispatch) from CIL for power generation had achieved its target; however, in the current year up to June, CIL's dispatch is 87% of the target due to local problems at CCL and constraints of wagon availability.
India's coking coal demand is estimated at 50.51MT in 2010-11 and 68.50MT in 2011-12. However, production capacity of coking coal would be 17.92MT and 26.02MT in 2010-10 and 2011-12 respectively resulting in a demand-supply gap of 32.59MT and 42.48MT respectively.

For the power sector, the country will require 442MT and 473MT of coal in 2010-11 and 2011-2012 respectively, while availability from indigenous sources is envisaged at 389.57MT for 2010-11 with a demand-supply gap of 52.43MT in 2010-11, according to Mr Roy.

"Whatever power capacity is coming in India is coal-based. And we have the same problem when the government gave approvals for captive power projects and they were also suffering from the same issues. However, I don't see any major impact on the power sector", added the ICICI Securities analyst.

Just after the minister had assured the Lok Sabha in August that actions were being taken to fulfil the demand-supply gap, CIL has cut the next financial year's target.

More barriers have been put in CIL's domestic growth as the ministry of environment has declared about 40% of CIL's reserves as 'no-go areas' for mining. The coal ministry is consistently trying to persuade prime minister Manmohan Singh to withdraw the order.

Steel companies are now looking for acquisitions or joint ventures in foreign countries to ensure smooth supply of coal. JSW Energy plans to double coal imports to 6MT in this financial year to expand power generation capacity. According to provisional figures from the coal ministry, coal imports grew by 16% to 44MT in the year ended March 2010, from a year earlier.



Shibaji Dash

7 years ago

You are absolutely right Mr Sharad but that's for the vanishing tribe of long term investors. The massive inflow of money whatever the source or character has compelled every one to think in very very short term so much so that the difference between day trading and short term has disappeared for all practical purposes. Crazy speculation in most transactions is the order of the day.20% appears to be the minimum PE benchmark.The collatteral effect is IPO means and implies post-listing killing.With regard to Coal India IPO, the average thinking is to sell off 60%to 70% of the allotment post listing and keep the balance for medium term. Long term - only if things turn up sour and continues to be so on expiry of 2/3 months after listing till one year is crossed over to make the gains if any tax-free.

Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

One often wonders that why after more than 5 decades we have not learnt a single lesson that PSU can never be of any use to the nation. Look at the CIL and its performance. On the other hand we have group of people who rather destroy the nation than let it flourish in name of poor people and or environment .
Are we ever to grow up for the nation and people and thus industrialize the nation or continue to fiddle with PSU and continue unproductive unions .
Unfortunately the nation is going down hill and yet we go on with closed eyes

USE, NSE get SEBI approval for trading in currency options

New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has given approval to National Stock Exchange (NSE) and United Stock Exchange (USE) for trading in currency options, a move that will provide an alternative to investors for hedging against currency fluctuations, reports PTI.

Both the exchanges have been granted approval for trading in options on dollar-rupee pair.

Market watchdog SEBI gave its approval on 11th October, USE said in a statement. NSE officials, too, confirmed receiving the approval.

Currency option is a derivative instrument that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to exchange money denominated in one currency into another at a pre-agreed exchange rate on a specified date.

NSE officials said trading in currency options is likely to start within 10 days, after all the approvals are in place.

At present, futures trading in four currency pairs are being offered through the exchanges. These pairs are dollar-rupee, euro-rupee, yen-rupee and pound-rupee.

In July this year, SEBI allowed bourses to introduce currency options on the US dollar pairing with the rupee.

In August 2008, the market regulator allowed exchanges to introduce currency futures, a forex derivative contract to buy or sell one currency against other on a specified future date, at a price decided in the contract.

Initially, currency futures were limited to rupee-dollar only. But in January 2010, it was extended to three more currencies - the euro, the British pound sterling and the Japanese yen - pairing with the rupee.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and SEBI jointly regulate these products. While the RBI approves the products, SEBI decides on the trading platforms.

Worldwide, the currency derivatives market is bigger than the equities market.

Experts believe that there are greater prospects for growth in currency segment in India, which is a fraction of the size of the equity markets here.

USE started its operations on 20th September by offering trading in currency futures.


Jaiprakash signs agreement with Dighi Port for setting up cement grinding plant

Construction and engineering company Jaiprakash Associates Ltd said it signed an agreement with Dighi Port to set up a three million tonne per annum cement grinding plant at Kutch at an investment of around Rs600 crore.

Apart from setting up a cement plant, the company will also build a coal-based captive power plant and a water desalination plant at Dighi Port. The total cost of the project is Rs600 crore.

On Tuesday, Jaiprakash Associates shares ended 1.9% down at Rs129 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex closed 0.7% down at 20,203 points.


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