India is in talks with Russia to import metallurgical or coking coal to reduce dependence on few countries which currently exports the commodity to India. Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday met Leonid Petukov, CEO, Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency here. Discussions centred around further developing economic linkages with Far East Russia, particularly through sourcing of metallurgical or coking coal, development of infrastructure of Far East Russia ports and connectivity of these ports with Russian mining locations, and improvements in evacuation infrastructure.
Pradhan also reviewed the progress made in strengthening ties pursuant to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Vladivostok. He further said that pursuant to his visit to Moscow and Vladivostok during the last three months, in which he had met Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Yuri Trutnev and subsequent meetings of representatives of Russian and Indian steel companies, the latter have started testing samples of coking coal from the Far East Russia in their plants.
The Minister stated that offtake of coal from Far East Russia can grow as the coking coal from Far East Russia becomes more attractive from the point of view of price, ease of availability, connectivity to the ports and sea transport. He hoped that the improvements by Russian side in developing inland as well as port logistics and rail connectivity in Far East would go a long way in developing economic linkages with India. He also suggested Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency to indicate specific concessions that can be made to Indian importers of coking coal and to offer port facilities at preferential terms for Indian companies.
Shipments of coking coal from the United States and Canada rose to a sixth of all Indian imports of the fuel during the last fiscal, according to government data. Australia’s share fell to 71% from about 88% three years ago.
Pradhan lauded the representatives from Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency for visiting India and expressed confidence that the coming months will see significant increase in import of coking coal for Indian steel industry from Far East Russia.
India currently imports more than 50 MTPA coking coal. In view of huge opportunity offered by the Far East Russia to attract Indian investments, the Government of India earlier extended a 1 Billion line of credit to Russia. This line of credit can be used for furthering economic linkages with Far East Russia, including development of evacuation infrastructure and logistics in the Far East Russia. Since PM’s visit to Vladivostok, the two sides have moved fast to implement outcomes of the visit including cooperation in the diamond, agriculture and infrastructure sector.