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India’s rapidly growing demand for energy presents a golden opportunity for Australian thermal coal exports, according to a new report.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the Coal in India 2019 report, prepared by the Office of the Chief Economist, outlined India’s potential as Australia’s greatest new thermal coal export market, potentially creating at least 4000 new direct jobs.

“If we could lift our thermal coal exports to India to the same market share we currently have with China – to just under 25 per cent of their imports – we could export an additional 37 million tonnes of high energy, low ash thermal coal,” Senator Canavan said.

“That is the equivalent of three or four new Adani Carmichael–sized coal mines. If this investment occurred in the Galilee Basin, it would open up a new, sustainably-sized coal basin in Queensland.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Queensland was in the ideal position to make of the most of the opportunities through more trade with India.

“There are opportunities for the expansion of both thermal and metallurgical coal exports to India,” he said.

“India is already Queensland’s third largest customer for coal, behind China and Japan.  In 2018 the total value of Queensland coal purchased by India was $9.5 billion.

“India is now the world’s second largest steel producer, and Queensland’s world-leading metallurgical coal is helping power that growth. In 2018, India was the largest buyer of Queensland metallurgical coal.

“There are also rich new opportunities for the export of Queensland zinc, gold and LNG as a result of India’s continuing economic growth and urban development. For example, India’s demand for zinc is forecast to grow by 7.6 per cent each year to 850 million tonnes in 2021. “

Senator Canavan said the Coal in India 2019 report provided a detailed examination of recent developments in India’s energy, electricity and mining policies and how they could impact on its future demand for thermal coal.

“The growth of India’s energy sector is truly astonishing. Since 2000, more than 500 million people have been ‘switched on’ to electricity, with coal providing around 44 per cent of India’s energy mix,” he said.

“However, by 2017 there was still 168 million people living in India who had no access to electricity. That is almost seven times the population of Australia.”

In 2018, Australia exported 5 million tonnes of thermal coal to India, representing just 4.5 per cent of India’s thermal coal imports.

“We can do better than this. The recent approval of the Adani Carmichael mine could just be the start of a new trade that can bring wealth and jobs to Australia,” Senator Canavan said.

The Coal in India 2019 Report is available here:

India presents ‘golden opportunity’ for coal growth