NEW DELHI, April 25 State-run Coal India
, which produces around 80 percent of the country's
coal, will import the fuel in 2013/14 for the first time, two
senior company sources said on Thursday, after a pricing deal on
its supply obligations with power producers.
The world's biggest coal miner cannot produce enough to meet
soaring power demand in Asia's third-largest economy. Under
pressure from the prime minister, it promised to use imports to
meet commitments but pricing issues had stalled purchases.
"We will be importing coal in 2013/14. Actually as per the
signed FSAs (fuel supply agreements), the imported coal content
is coming to something around 5.8 million tonnes," one of the
sources told Reuters.
Coal fuels more than half the country's power generation,
which still falls short of consumption. Power cuts are frequent
and last for hours in many areas, prompting industrial and
commercial users to rely heavily on generators.
Coal India, which has struggled for years to meet output
targets set by the government, came under pressure from the
prime minister to improve supplies after the government faced
sharp criticism from industry last year.
So far, the company has signed 61 FSAs, totalling 24,300
megawatt of power generation, with state-run and private
companies, the second source said.
Both sources declined to be named, citing company policy.
Import volumes could increase if other state and private
power producers also sign up with Coal India for supplies rather
than buying imports direct.
(Reporting by Malini Menon; editing by Keiron Henderson)