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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Indonesia may produce 375 million tonnes to 390 million tonnes of coal in 2012

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

Bloomberg quoted Mr Bob Kamandanu chairman of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association said Indonesia expects to produce 375 million tons to 390 million tons of coal in 2012 to meet growing demand from India and China.

He said Indonesia will probably consume 65 million tons to 70 million tons of coal next year.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

Vale looking to sell Valemax iron ore carriers - Report

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

Vale is looking to sell off its large iron ore carriers amid fierce opposition from Chinese ship owners and embarrassing teething problems as the second largest mining company shifts its focus back to core projects.

Mr José Carlos Martins Vale executive director for iron ore and strategy said that the Brazilian company would sell its so called Valemax most of which have not yet been built, if it could take long term leases on them.

The multi billion dollar plan to control shipments to China by building 35 ships with decks the size of three football fields the biggest dry bulk carriers ever was dreamt up by Mr Roger Agnelli, Vale former headstrong chief executive but it has faced heavy criticism since.

None of the new carriers has been able to dock in China, Vale biggest market, because of opposition from local Shipowners and technical difficulties while a mysterious leak aboard the Vale Beijing on its maiden voyage this month has raised safety concerns.

The move to sell the ships also comes as Mr Murilo Ferreira Vale new more cautious and diplomatic chief executive is reviewing spending on all projects to help strengthen the company finances in the face of falling commodity prices.

Mr Martins said “It’s really all about capital allocation. We prefer to invest our capital in mining and contract the ships instead, declining to comment on whether negotiations were already under way. There is no reason we actually have to own them.”

Vale began placing orders in 2008 for the 35 Valemax of which it planned to own 19 in an attempt to control the price it paid to move its iron ore to China after years of wild gyrations in charter prices. Rates per day for capsize ships the largest dry bulk carriers reached as high as USD 233,988 per day in June 2008 but subsequently plummeted by December that year to as low as USD 2,400.

(Sourced from

Bid for coal mine near Eneabba rejected

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

It is reported that a bid by Central West Coal to develop a coal mine south of Eneabba has been rejected.

The Environmental Protection Authority considered five appeals against the development. It concluded the proposal could not meet its environmental objectives for protecting flora and fauna.

Mr Bill Marmion Environment Minister said the EPA decision is justified and appropriate. He will now consult with the relevant environmental authorities to determine whether or not the proposal can be implemented and under what operating conditions.

(sourced from

China Bohai Rim steam coal price falls 1pct to CNY 821 per tonne

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

Bloomberg reported that China Bohai-Rim Steam-Coal Price Index, which tracks power-station coal prices at six ports fell 1.1% to CNY 821 per ton as of today compared with a week earlier.

This is the sixth consecutive decline.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

China warns of risks of buying Iranian iron ore

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

Reuters reported that China warned about the risks of importing Iranian iron ore, the second major commodity from the sanctions-hit Islamic Republic under scrutiny as the two also tussle over oil payment terms.

The warning from the Commerce Ministry to domestic companies, which focused on substandard quality and on delivery problems, follows crude imports spat that has seen China halve its Iranian oil shipments for January.

An iron ore analyst in Beijing who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the matter said "I would consider this very similar to the crude oil import limitation by Zhuhai Zhenrong."

The analyst said "First, the timing is perfect, just on the heels of oil import payment concerns a few days ago by Zhuhai Zhenrong. And secondly, China also used commercial risks as the main reason."

China's top refiner Sinopec, both directly and through state Chinese state trading company Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp has cut crude imports from Iran by over half in January.

The ministry said in a statement that "We have received lots of complaints from domestic companies about fraud regarding iron ore imports."

The ministry added that Iranian companies have severely damaged Chinese companies' interests by using substandard materials, refusing to deliver materials or delivering less than what was originally agreed to.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Jingyuan Coal to acquire coal assets

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

It is reported that Gansu Jingyuan Coal Industry And Electricity Power intends to issue 162.59 million shares to controlling shareholder, Jingyuan Coal Group at CNY 16.36 per share in order to purchase CNY 2.66 billion worth of coal assets from the latter.

The assets to be purchased include Baiyin Energy Saving Thermal, Qingmei Engineering Investigation, Jinghong Storage and Transportation, Jingyuan Coal Yilin Resource Development and other related assets.

The assets recorded total revenue of CNY 2.519 billion and net profit of CNY 286 million during the first three quarters of 2011. After the completion of the transaction, Jingyuan Coal Group will have 246 million shares or a 72.37% stake in the listed company.

The acquisitions will increase Jingyuan Coal recoverable coal reserves by 250 million tonnes and raise mine production volume by 7.63 million tons per year.

It was reported that the transaction will solve the problem of horizontal competition between Jingyuan Coal and Jingyuan Coal Group.

(Sourced from Shanghai Securities News)

China's Yanzhou inks A$700 mln deal for Gloucester Coal

Thu Dec 22, 2011

* Yanzhou says to merge Australian unit with Gloucester Coal
* Deal worth A$700 million in cash, or A$3.20 per share - Yancoal
* Reverse takeover creates one of largest coal companies in Australia

SYDNEY/HONG KONG, Dec 22 (Reuters) - China's Yanzhou Coal Mining Co Ltd said on Thursday it plans to merge its Australian unit with Gloucester Coal in a A$700 million deal that will create one of Australia's largest listed coal companies.

Australia's coal sector has seen a series of mergers and acquisitions initiated by Asian suitors hungry to satisfy fast growing domestic demand for coal from steel mills and power generation plants.

Yanzhou Coal's deal for Gloucester is also yet another case of a Chinese company buying up natural resource assets in Australia, tapping its commodity base to fuel massive residential, commercial and infrastructure projects across China.

Sydney-based Gloucester will be merged with Yancoal Australia Ltd., and Yanzhou will own 77 percent of the new company. Gloucester shareholders will own the rest and receive A$700 million ($705.36 million) in cash, the equivalent of A$3.20 in per share, Yancoal said in a statement. Each Gloucester Coal shareholder will receive one share in the merged company.

Gloucester closed at A$7.03 in Sydney on Dec. 19, before trading in the shares was suspended.

The reverse takeover of Gloucester would give Yanzhou Coal's Australian unit, Yancoal Australia Ltd, a local listing without having to risk an initial public offering in a shaky market, where coal stocks in particular have been pummelled on worries about a global economic downturn.

A condition of Yancoal's A$3.3 billion takeover of another Australian coal miner, Felix Resources, in 2009 required it to float at least 30 percent of the business on the local exchange by 2012.

Yanzhou Coal chairman Li Weimin said in a statement the merger plan allows it to meet that requirement and at the same time "reflects the company's strategy to grow our Australia business and to become a global leader in the coal mining sector."

Gloucester, which has a market value of A$1.4 billion, is 64 percent owned by commodities trader Noble Group. Trading in the coal firm's shares were suspended earlier Thursday ahead of the expected offer.

Yanzhou said the transaction is subject to various approvals, and plans to complete the deal in the second quarter of 2012.

Yancoal and Gloucester both have mines and projects in New South Wales and Queensland. Gloucester aims to expand production to 10 million tonnes a year by 2016, while Yancoal expects to produce 20 million tonnes a year by 2015.

That would put a combined group ahead of Whitehaven Coal , which last week announced a $2.5 billion takeover of Aston Resources to create a company producing 25 million tonnes a year by 2016.

Since taking over Felix Resources, Yancoal has bought Syntech Resources for A$203 million and is about to complete the A$297 million acquisition of Premier Coal from Wesfarmers.

It sought to buy Whitehaven Coal earlier this year but the two were unable to settle on a price.

(sourced Reuters)

Anglo American ships first iron ore from Kolomela in South Africa

Thursday, 22 Dec 2011

Reuters reported that global miner Anglo American has exported the first shipment from the USD 1 billion Kolomela iron ore mine in South Africa one of its key growth projects putting the mine ahead of schedule and on track to achieve full production by 2013.

The miner said Kolomela one of the projects expected to drive organic volume growth for Anglo has been commissioned five months ahead of schedule and on budget.

Mr Chris Griffith CEO of Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore business said "The first shipment of 100,000 tonnes of Kolomela lump ore left the port of Saldanha on 19 December 2011."

He said that "The commissioning of the Kolomela project is in line with our growth strategy of ramping our South African production up to 70 million tonnes per year by 2019."

Kolomela had been expected to deliver initial production at the end of the first half of 2012.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UK-listed Beacon Hill exports first Mozambique thermal coal cargo

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Beacon Hill Resources has shipped its first export cargo of Moatize thermal coal from Mozambique's port of Beira at the weekend, it said Monday in a statement to the London Alternative Investment Market. Beacon Hill's first export shipment comprised 10,650 mt of thermal coal that was trucked to Beira port from the company's Minas Moatize mine in Mozambique's Tete province and was loaded into the vessel MV Aztec Maiden. "The proof of concept of this initial economically viable shipment allows us to evaluate key elements in the supply chain, a process which will be highly beneficial to the group when we commence production of coking coal in Q1 2012," said Beacon Hill chairman Justin Lewis in the statement.
The London-listed coal producer said it was confident of attaining export capacity in Mozambique's Sena railway to Beira port in 2012, which would pave the way for its plan to upgrade production to 2 million mt/year of coking and thermal coal over the next two years.
The company did not disclose the thermal coal cargo's destination, though a possible market could be India, which like Mozambique borders the Indian Ocean.

In the meantime, Beacon Hill is to rely on trucks to transport 500,000 mt/year of its Moatize coal to port, which is more than adequate for the company's production in 2012. Beacon Hill said in its statement that it was having ongoing talks with the Mozambique government, which recently took over the operation of the Sena railway. The company, together with Brazilian miner Vale and Rio Tinto, which now owns Riversdale Mining, is finalizing terms of reference to upgrade the Sena railway to a capacity for coal exports of 6.5 million mt/year by the middle of next year, and to 12 million mt/year by the end of 2012. "Our export capacity will be significantly enhanced by the receipt of an allocation to the Sena rail line, in conjunction with its refurbishment next year," added Lewis.

sourced Platts

Iron ore prices drop in China amid falling investments

Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011

Xinhua reported that sharply decreasing fixed asset investment in the railways and increased housing inventory in the property market are cutting demand for steel, resulting in falling prices of imported iron ore in the world's second largest economy.

According to the Xinhua-China Iron Ore Price Index that was released that inventories of iron ore at 25 of China's major sea ports dropped 1.6% to 97.99 million tonnes in the week ending on Dec 19 from the previous week.

According to the index, which is compiled by the Xinhua News Agency to track iron ore inventories and imports in Chinese spot markets Last week's imported iron ore stock was 1.61 million metric tons less than that of one week earlier.

The price index for 63.5% purity iron ore imports fell 4.1% to hit 139 points while that for 58% purity iron ore imports decreased by 1.7% WoW to rest at 117 points.

Analysts said the declining prices of iron ore are a result of a sluggish steel market amid falling investment in the nation railway projects and increased housing inventory in the property sector.

According to data from the Ministry of Railways, fixed asset investment in railways in the first 11 months of the year plunged 28.4%YoY to CNY 492 billion. The decline rate widened by 3.2 percentage points compared to that in the first ten months.

In November, more major cities saw drops in new home prices from October as housing sales slipped 1.2%YoY with major developers such as China Vanke experiencing a 20% sales decrease last month.

Analysts predicted a further downward trend for the iron ore prices in the coming week as steel companies are becoming cautious in purchases amid expectations that downstream businesses will cut demand for steel.

(Sourced from Xinhua)

New capacity in coal sector in India during 12th plan

Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011

Mr Pratik Prakashbapu Patil minister of state in the ministry of coal informed the Lok Sabha that the government proposes to add new capacity by way of taking up of new projects as well as expansion of existing projects through Coal India Ltd and its subsidiaries, Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd in Public Sector. Further, new capacity addition in production through coal block allocatees both Public and Private Sector is also envisaged.

It is envisaged that during the 12th plan period the annual production of coal will increase from 447 million tonne to 615 million tonne by CIL, from 51 million tonne to 57 million tonne by SCCL and for lignite it is envisaged to increase from 41.64 million tonne to 68.60 million tonne by NLC by way of capacity addition. The production from coal block allocatees is envisaged to increase from 36.15 million tonne to 100 million tonne during the above period.

The minister further added that as per the recommendations of the Working Group on coal for the 12th Five Year plan (2012-2017), the capital outlay for Coal and Lignite sector during the above period is envisaged as under:

Coal India Ltd INR 25400 crore
Singareni Collieries Company Ltd INR 10350 crore
Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd INR 3481 crore

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rising coal costs to hit India power projects - Fitch

Tuesday, Dec20, 2011

MUMBAI(Reuters)-The rising cost of imported coal, coupled with a weakening rupee, could force some Indian power projects to default on their debt obligations, ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday. Fitch estimated that the average cost of generation could rise to 4.41 rupees (8 cents) per kilowatt hour for projects relying entirely on imported coal, from the current average of 2.29 rupees, if current trends continue.

Coal accounts for 55 percent of India's power generation capacity of 182,344 megawatts.
But while the country holds 10 percent of the world's coal reserves, power companies often struggle to access local supplies due to environmental and land acquisition delays, forcing expensive imports. The higher costs could put massive pressure on plants that cannot pass on higher fuel costs to customers, and in some cases this could render projects unviable, the ratings agency said.

"Financial margins of power projects will also come under severe pressure in the absence of a significant tariff revision or injection of additional sponsor equity," Venkataraman Rajaraman, director at Fitch's Global Infrastructure group, said in a statement accompanying a report on the industry. Most new Indian power projects are dependent on imported coal and have seen their costs jump over the past year.

Asia's third-largest economy has a peak-hours power shortage of 13 percent of requirements as rising demand from industry, homes and shopping malls outstrips capacity growth, but investments in the power sector have been slowing.

(sourced Reuters)

Coal mega-mines a 'global threat'

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

THE development of coal ''mega-mines'' in central Queensland, such as the massive China First project, will destroy the world's chance of keeping global warming to 2 degrees, the environmental group Greenpeace claims. In its submission to the federal government on the environmental impact of mining magnate Clive Palmer's $7.5 billion China First mine, the green group says this and other big projects in Queensland's Galilee Basin would lock in huge coal exploitation for decades to come. ''If this goes ahead, it will destroy our chances of keeping global warming to 2 degrees,'' said Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn.

The International Energy Agency says the world needs to make ''urgent and radical policy changes'' if it is to stick to the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees by the end of the century. The agency drew up a ''carbon budget'' that would allow the world to meet that target. If the proposed mega-mines in the Galilee Basin run at full pace, by 2035 they would be eating up 4 per cent of the world's carbon budget and 9 per cent of the emissions set aside for coal, according to the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney on behalf of Greenpeace.

The claims follow the release of a report on Thursday that found China First, planned by Mr Palmer's firm Waratah Coal, would exacerbate the two-speed economy by pushing up the dollar, creating labour shortages and driving up wages. A statement from Waratah Coal said the company would ''ensure that the project has the highest integrity and meets all environmental requirements''.

Source: SMH

Japan crude steel output hits 10-year low for November

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Japan's crude steel output fell 3.2 percent in November from a year earlier to the lowest level in 10 years for that month, an industry body said on Monday, after floods in Thailand, an Asian hub for car production, reduced demand for steel.The November output figure, which is not seasonally adjusted, was 8.7 million tonnes. That was the lowest for the month since 2001, when November output totalled 8.1 million tonnes, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.
Electric furnace steelmakers, which melt steel scrap, increased output in November on a continued recovery in building construction after the March earthquake and tsunami. But Japan's top steelmakers curbed output in reaction to a decline in exports.

"It was November when customers actually started cutting new contract volumes because of the Thai floods," a federation official said, adding that the strong yen was also hurting exports to Asia.
Last month, JFE Steel Corp, the world No.5 steel maker, said it plans to produce 300,000 tonnes less crude steel in the October-December period than originally planned. It joined Nippon Steel Corp and some other Asian steelmakers in cutting output following a rapid deterioration of Asia's steel market since September.

Monday's data showed that output at electric furnace steelmakers rose 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.2 million tonnes, but production by blast furnace steelmakers fell 5.8 percent to 6.5 million tonnes. For overall output, it was the third consecutive year-on-year decline, after falling 0.3 percent in October and 3.8 percent in September.Compared with October, output fell 8.3 percent, the fastest month-on-month decline since February 2009. On a daily basis, output was down 5.2 percent from October.Crude steel production totalled 99.2 million tonnes in the first 11 months of this year, down 1.2 percent from the same period in 2010, the data showed.

Source: Reuters

12891 cases of illegal mining in Karnataka

Tuesday, 20 Dec 2011

Mr Dinsha Patel minister of state for mines (independent charge) informed the Rajya Sabha Karnataka state government detected 12891 cases of illegal mining of minor and major minerals for the period June, 2006 till December, 2009, and for the year 2010-11, it has reported 6476 cases of illegal mining.

Details of iron ore produced illegally in Karnataka are not maintained centrally. As per the National Mineral Inventory maintained by the Indian Bureau of Mines, 34.91% of total iron ore resources in the country is found in Karnataka.

As per the directions of Apex Court, mining operations and transportation in Bellary district were suspended till further orders. On 5th August 2011, the Apex Court permitted two mines of NMDC in the Bellary district to produce iron ore to the extent of one million tones per month commencing from 6th August 2011 till further orders and mining operations have been restrained in 142 mines by Court directions on account of environmental hazard in the State of Karnataka, and 40,000 (estimated) workers have been affected by this ban. Further vide directions dated 26th August 2011, mining activities in districts of Tumkur and Chitradurga in Karnataka have also been suspended by the Supreme Court.

Iron ore may remain below USD 140 as Chinese mills limit purchases

Tuesday, 20 Dec 2011

Bloomberg quoted said iron ore prices may remain below USD 140 per ton as Chinese steel mills, the world biggest consumers limit purchases on profitability concerns.

Mr Chen Zhenxing a Shanghai-based analyst at the research firm “Iron ore above USD 140 may force steelmakers to incur losses at current steel prices. Prices may trade between USD 133 and USD 140 before the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which starts Jan 23.

He said that “Mills and traders are short of capital around the year end and that will also curb their buying activities.”

He added that “Steelmakers are trying to keep their raw-material inventories thin because the prices are increasingly volatile. They’d rather order only one or two ships from miners for the holiday and buy the rest from the spot market at ports.”

Ore prices have rebounded 13% from a year low on October 28. Prices have averaged 15% higher than last year USD 147 a ton. Steel prices have declined 11% from this year high in January.

(Sourced from Bloomberg)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bangladesh attractive investment destination - Mr Ahmad

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

Describing Bangladesh as an attractive investment destination, the India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that TATA Group, whose earlier proposed USD 2 billion project in Bangladesh ran into trouble, is mulling new coal based ventures there.

IBCCI president Mr Abdul Matlub Ahmad said that "Their earlier USD 2 billion project will no more happen now, it's finished. But they are now looking at coal based projects though they have not publicized it. Though they haven't made any concrete decision on the matter but they are definitely looking into Bangladesh.”

IBCCI is a joint effort of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

As per report the TATA Group had put on hold its USD 2 billion project of steel, power and chemicals in Bangladesh following concerns over the pricing of gas.

The Mumbai headquartered conglomerate had in February 2005 signed an expression of interest with Bangladesh's Board of Investment for putting up three gas based projects. This comprised a 2.4 million tonne steel plant, the 1,000 MW power project and the one million tonne fertilizer plant, making it the biggest foreign direct investment in Bangladesh from India.

Mr Ahmad said that "Bangladesh is an attractive destination for Indian investment. We have set up two industrial complexes exclusively for Indian investors. The businesses set up there will be entitled to a number of incentives, including corporate tax holidays of 5 to 7 years in specified sectors.”

(Sourced from ET)

Surplus coal from captive miners to be sold through CIL E auction

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

The Indian coal ministry has decided to bar captive coal miners from raising production beyond the approved level, rejecting industry demands and the proposal from the Planning Commission to allow excess output to ease fuel scarcity.

Government officials said that coal ministry has prepared the policy, but is waiting for law ministry's approval before notifying it. Under the policy, surplus coal should be sold to state run Coal India Ltd at price lower than production cost.

The policy said that the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act of 1973 allows coal from captive block be used exclusively for specified end use project and production of surplus coal should not result in any undue advantage to captive block owner.

The policy said coal so transferred to Coal India Ltd should disposed by E auction.

The coal ministry official said government was concerned about misuse of diversion of excess coal to other projects.

Association of Power Producers director general Mr Ashok Khurana said government should enable surplus coal to be disposed off in a manner that incentivises coal producers.

Of 193 coal blocks allotted over 18 years to companies for captive use, only 28 are in production. Against a target of more than 90 million tonnes, only 38 million tonnes is being mined out from these mines.

(Sourced from ET)

Exports may be canalized - Report

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

Business Standard reported that to monitor iron ore exports, a cause of illegal mining, the Indian government plans to canalise exports of the mineral.

The report quoted a senior official as saying that “The proposal will be sent to the Union Cabinet once inter ministerial discussions are completed. The ministry of mines is in discussion with the ministry of commerce and industry.”

He told BS “The basic idea is to have a single agency accountable for the illegalities that arise in the iron ore trade.”

The official said “The setting up of a canalising agency would act as a short-term solution until we put in place mechanisms to improve poor last-mile governance in mineral-rich states, the basic reason for illegal mining.”

The report added that the government is considering the recommendation on a ban on exports in the context of the export import policy.

Currently, iron ore exporting companies enter independent bilateral deals with foreign entities. If the canalising proposal comes through, big exporters such as Sesa Goa, Fomento Resources, MSPL Ltd and VM Salgaokar & Bro would be forced to execute these contracts through a government owned company such as MMTC, NMDC or State Trading Corporation.

(Sourced from BS)

Alternative fuels to be blended with petrol and diesel - Dr Farooq Abdullah

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

Dr Farooq Abdullah minister of new and renewable energy informed the Lok Sabha that with a view to supplement the consumption of petrol and diesel, initiatives have been taken to explore the possibility of utilizing biofuels namely bio ethanol and bio diesel and hydrogen

A National Policy on Biofuels has been developed and was announced in December, 2009. A target of 5% blending of bio diesel with diesel and bio ethanol with petrol has been fixed.

Research and Development work has been initiated by various scientific organizations/institutions. R&D has been undertaken for development of improved varieties of planting material for improving yields of non-edible oil seeds and their oil content for increasing the production of biodiesel. Large scale field trials of the improved planting material are currently in progress in the States of Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, etc. Besides, R&D work has also been undertaken for development of second generation technologies for production of bio-ethanol from agricultural and forest residues/wastes.

Mining taxes impede Indian firms foray into Australia

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

Even as it proposes a Free Trade Agreement with the Indian government, Australia is keen to lay out a red carpet for Indian companies looking to mine coal or iron ore in Australia. However, new taxes on mining could also mean that Indian companies will have to buy assets in Australia as well.

GVK recently paid a little over USD 1 billion for 3 coal mines in Australia and it is not alone. Indian power and infra companies are making a beeline for Australia. But two new taxes, carbon and mining tax could act as a spoiler. The Australian government however is at pains to explain that the incidence of these two taxes will be minimal.

Mr Bill Shorten minister for financial services of Australia said "It’s better to tax profits rather than an umbrella royalty. Australia can definitely offer large natural resources to Indian companies looking for mining opportunities."

He said that "We have long term pension funds which are really keen to be part of the Indian growth story and infrastructure is an attractive investment area.”

Meanwhile, the Australian government is also looking to invest in India. Australian pension funds, some with assets over USD 15 billion are keen to pump in long term funds in the infrastructure sector.

Even as Australia and India increase their engagement, the Australian government is ultimately looking at a FTA with India to boost economic co-operation between the two countries.

(Sourced from

Australia thermal coal dips to USD 110 per tonne

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

Reuters reported that Australia thermal coal prices, the benchmark for Asia slipped to around USD 110 per tonne in thin trading, although Chinese buyers were reportedly in the market for some cargoes next year.

Thermal coal on the global COAL Newcastle index for the week to date closed at USD 110.20 per tonne on Thursday down from USD 111.47 per tonne a week earlier. Despite the lower prices, there were reports that supplies from Australia Newcastle port were a little tight for very prompt delivery likely due to some producers overselling for December and January.

Australian thermal coal shipments from Newcastle port rose 34% in the week ended December 12 to 2.58 million tonnes while the vessel queue increased to 20 ships from 12 as some producers rushed to send out a few extra cargoes by the year end.

Chinese import demand for next year was seen picking up although sources said buyers were still not committing to large volumes.

Oe Sydney-based trade source said "It seems like we've seen a little timid term interest come from China."

In China, the domestic coal price benchmark was slightly lower at CNY 830 per tonne last week from CNY 840 the previous week.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Euro steam coal spreads widen and activity muted

Monday, 19 Dec 2011

Reuters reported that physical prompt thermal coal prices were little changed again on Friday but few players were active in the market and the bid/offer spreads widened as a result.

In the absence of fresh spot trade to give clear price direction, coal is tracking oil, equities and the euro, as it has for the past few months. Oil edged up near GBP 104 a barrel on Friday consolidating after heavy falls earlier in the week due to the weaker dollar and concerns about US sanctions against Iran but euro zone debt worries capped gains.

There was so little coal trading activity on Friday however that prices barely reacted to oil steadier tone. Traders, producers and utilities are focused more on Q1 where the hot spots of demand might be and what kind of support for prices could come from severe weather.

Australia is preparing for another active cyclone season as a La Nina weather pattern again brings heavy rains. The impact of another La Nina is not expected to be as severe as last year when successive cyclones and tropical storms through the winter and spring flooded coal mines in Queensland states and caused coal prices to spike.

One European trader said "Few people among the usual players were in the market, the holidays seem to have started early and the bid/offer spreads are so wide that clearly very little if anything is going to trade."

There is more talk in the market of substantial tonnages of American high-sulphur coal with 1.5% to 3% sulphur content arriving in Europe and more to come during 2012.

Utilities say they have already absorbed as much blend able high sulphur coal as they can for the next few months much of this is held on stockpiles in ARA and at power plants. Traders with long positions in US coal who had expected to place this in Europe are now hoping that China and India will buy more of this material if it is discounted enough.

Failing that, competition to win the relatively few tenders to buy coal issued in the Atlantic basin is expected to hot up as new entrant traders and banks look for all openings to sell physical coal.

Chinese importers are still enquiring for prompt coal cargoes although buying has slowed but the price window for imports remains wide open, according to a commodities research note issued by Credit Suisse.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

China Shenhua to make alumina from coal ash-Xinhua

Sun Dec 18, 2011

BEIJING Dec 18 (Reuters) - China Shenhua Group, the country's largest coal producer, has started building a $21.4 billion facility to produce alumina from coal ash, the state Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing a senior company executive.

The company plans to invest 135.8 billion yuan ($21.4 billion) in the project, near Jungar coal mine in Ordos city in northern China's Inner Mongolia, Xinhua quoted Ling Wen, deputy manager of Shenhua Group, as saying.

No details were given about how the company would turn coal ash, a waste byproduct of thermal power generation, into alumina.

The project included a 6,600-megawatt power plant, an alumina plant and a gallium plant, all of which will use materials recycled from coal burning, Xinhua said.

Ordos, which is home to one-sixth of the country's coal reserves, will be able to produce 3 billion tonnes of alumina, which is used to make aluminum, according to Xinhua.

Shenhua Group is parent of China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd . ($1=6.3484 yuan)
(sourced Reuters)