INDIA HUNTS FOR COAL IN BC (Asia Pacific Post – July 23, 2013)

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India has announced that it is exploring options for sourcing coal from British Columbia, including equity participation in assets and acquisition of mines just as Vancouver city council voted to ban the handling, storage and trans shipment of coal at its marine terminals and berths.

The ban, mostly symbolic, was passed as Port Metro Vancouver, the No. 2 exporter of coal in North America triggered controversy over planned expansion of its facilities. Vancouver city council has no jurisdiction over the port operations.

Even before the ink was dry on the 9 to 2 vote which aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions and set the air quality target to “breath the cleanest air of any major city in the world”, a high powered delegation from India met with British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to scour for coal resources.

The Indian delegation was led by Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma who is looking to feed India’s steel industry which is growing at a fast pace and needs additional quantities of coking coal. “The delegation held a series of discussions with the coal asset owners and various avenues for sourcing coking coal to India to meet its ever-growing requirement were discussed,” an official statement said.

Verma had detailed talks with Clark in Vancouver, according to the statement.

B.C.Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat was also present and indicated that in recent years, Indo-Canadian ties were witnessing a new momentum in line with India’s economic growth, it said.

“The delegation had a series of meetings with the government of British Columbia, wherein both the Ministers identified a number of opportunities for mutual cooperation,” it said.

It was acknowledged that India’s steel industry is growing at a fast pace and needs additional quantities of coking coal, which can be sourced from British Columbia, according to the statement.

A “Statement of Cooperation” was also signed between Rashtriya Ispat Nigam and IC-IMPACTS Centre of Excellence, University of British Columbia.

The objective is to encourage and strengthen ties and potential collaboration for technology development and transfer, network development, research partnerships related to promotion of steel, water conservation and augmentation.
The meeting with Verma, was part of a week-long tour in Canada that began on 15th July with an objective to have cooperation between organizations of both the countries for sourcing/acquisition of minerals like coking coal and iron ore.

The Canada-India Business Council states that with its growing population—1.2 billion at last count—India is set to overtake China as the largest country in the world by 2025.

Currently the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, India has a large middle-class population that has begun urbanizing, modernizing and industrializing with an almost insatiable need, putting a demand on the country’s resources and infrastructure.

Translated that means BC coking coal is much needed by India, the world’s fourth-largest steel producer, which is expected to add around 5 million to 6 million tonnes of steel-making capacity over the next year.

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