India coal imports down 34% in December

Delhi’s strategy to boost domestic production paying dividends in blow to world’s top coal exporters, but overall coal use set to soar

(Flickr/Alejandro Arango)

(Flickr/Alejandro Arango)

By Ed King

Indian coal imports dropped by over a third in December as domestic production soared, the country’s coal secretary tweeted on Wednesday.

The drop means imports from April to the end of 2015 fell by 15%, and represent a blow to major thermal coal exporters like Australia and South Africa.

“Record coal production” meant India could rely more on domestic sources of energy, said top official Anil Swarup. Energy Minister Piyush Goyal wants to stop all coal imports by 2017.

“India was the essentially last flame of hope for the beleaguered seaborne thermal coal industry. December’s import data confirms the last flicker has been snuffed out” said Tim Buckley, director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

More than 60% of India’s electricity is generated from burning coal. Last month Goyal said that figure would likely rise as the country builds more power plants to connect estimated 300 million people to the national grid.


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