Tuesday, December 22, 2015

JSPL to resume mining at Australian coal mines

Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) will resume mining coal from two of its stalled projects in Australia as it expects to get regulatory clearances from Canberra soon, its chief executive said.

JSPL holds majority stakes in Wollongong Coal Ltd (WLC), which used to operate Russell Vale Colliery and Wongawilli Colliery in the Southern Coalfields Region of New South Wales.

WCL had to suspend operations at its Russell Vale Colliery in September because of regulatory issues. Wongawilli Colliery was shut for maintenance in August but it now needs government approvals to restart mining.

"Once we get these necessary clearances, we aim to start mining at Wongawilli by end-March and at Russell Vale by June," Ravi Uppal told Reuters in an interview.

The mining and environmental clearances are likely to come soon, Uppal said.

JSPL bought majority stakes in WCL in 2013 to mine coal, mostly for its operations in India.

Russell Vale Colliery and Wongawilli Colliery have a combined reserve of 500 million tonnes and WCL initially expects to mine a million and a half tonnes from each one of them per year, Uppal said.

Separately, Uppal said India's steel demand is expected to grow at 8-10 percent a year from the next fiscal year beginning in April due to industrial expansion and spending on infrastructure.

Steel demand in India is currently growing at 4 percent a year, according to government and industry estimates.

New Delhi would have to curb cheaper steel imports to boost local demand, he said.

India this month slapped import duties for five years on some stainless steel imports from China, the European Union and the United States to protect local industry.

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