Coal India sees first import of 5.8 mln T in 2013/14-sources

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 14:40 hrs

NEW DELHI, April 25 (Reuters) - 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)

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