* India to add 5-6 mln T steel-making capacity in 2013/14
* Capacity additions, utilisation to push up met coal
* Import demand may be 50-60 mln T by 2020 -Wood Mackenzie
By Malini Menon
NEW DELHI, May 22 India's metallurgical coal
imports are likely to grow by 8.7 percent to 35 million tonnes
in 2013/14 as additions to its steel-making capacity lift
demand, four traders and a steelmaker said.
India, the world's fourth-largest steel producer, is
expected to add around 5 million to 6 million tonnes of
steel-making capacity in this fiscal year to end-March, said an
official at JSW Steel.
"In the coming years, coking coal imports will go up because
of the new capacities that are coming up," said the official at
the country's third-largest steelmaker, who did not wish to be
identified citing company policy.
Imports in the last fiscal year covered about 40 percent of
India's total metallurgical, or coking, coal needs. Domestic
coal reserves of 286 billion tonnes, fifth-largest in the world
according to BP, mostly consist of thermal coal, which is
used in power plants.
"I expect (coking coal) imports of 35 million tonnes this
fiscal year," a coal trader said, on condition of anonymity
because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
India produced 49.35 million tonnes of metallurgical coal
and imported 32.2 million tonnes in 2012/13, government data
Steel Authority of India, which imports
three-quarters of its coking coal, hopes to raise steel capacity
to 18 million tonnes this fiscal year or next from 14 million
currently, with its coal imports rising by 3 million tonnes to
13 million tonnes.
As for Tata Steel, "We do not expect any capacity
addition before the last quarter of 2013/14," said a company
official, who did not wish to be named.
"Shortage of iron ore supply in India has probably pushed
back some of the demand growth (for coal imports)," said Prakash
Sharma, a senior coal markets analyst for APAC at energy
research consultant Wood Mackenzie.
Iron ore output fell to about 167 million tonnes in 2012/13,
after a clamp down on illegal mining led to mining bans in the
top producing states of Goa and Karnataka.
"Longer-term (coking coal import) demand growth is still
very, very robust for India. (It) could be 50-60 million tonnes
by 2020," Sharma said.
(editing by Jane Baird)