Oh, Canada! India Looks to North America, Japan for Coking Coal

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This is part two of a special MetalMiner report on India’s coking coal sector. Here’s part one, if you missed it.

Recently, Canadian High Commissioner Stewart G. Beck invited Coal India Limited, the state-owned coal behemoth, to invest in coking coal assets in Canada. India could very well get into business with the Canadians because of high-grade coking coal, low in sulphur and high in ash. India’s outgoing Minister of Steel had led a delegation to Canada last year to study Canadian technology and signed a few preliminary agreements.

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Indian Steel majors like JSW Steel Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) already import coking coal from Canada.
News from another part of the world also brings some hope. Japan`s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. is also considering investing in iron ore or coking coal mines from its nearly US $1 billion war chest for overseas investments.

Nippon Steel is the world`s second-biggest steelmaker by crude steel output. A report in zeenews.com said this steel major was eyeing mining investments while prices of the commodities were low. Executive Vice President Katsuhiko Ota said in a Reuters interview, although there was nothing specific on the table right now, Nippon would use some of its 100 billion yen fund if a good acquisition target came around. Nippon Steel currently gets about a quarter of its required iron ore and 20 percent of coking coal from mines in which it has invested.

Nippon Steel will continue expanding in markets including the USs – where it completed the purchase of a ThyssenKrupp AD plant with ArcelorMittal in February – as well as Indonesia, India and China, Ota said.

Indian analysts are keeping their fingers crossed that some of the war chest funds are diverted to Indian projects, especially since Nippon Steel has a tie-up with Tata Steel Ltd in India.

Sohrab Darabshaw contributes an Indian perspective on industrial metals markets to MetalMiner.

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