India to rely on state miners to meet coal target: Piyush Goel

India will meet its target of doubling coal production by 2020 without the help of private miners, the coal and power minister said, ruling out new measures to entice cash-strapped companies to begin mining the commodity.

India wants to produce 1.5 billion tonnes of coal by 2020 to power its economy and reduce imports. State-owned Coal India Ltd , the world’s largest coal miner, has raised production in line with reaching a target of 1 billion tonnes a year within four years and the government wants private miners to produce much of the remainder.

But only a few companies that won the right to mine coal for their power plants last year have started production as they struggle to recover their costs, while the ministry this month delayed plans to open up commercial mining to private firms because of weak demand and depressed coal prices.

Piyush Goyal, power and coal minister, told Reuters that state-owned companies including power producer NTPC Ltd , Steel Authority of India Ltd and National Aluminium Co Ltd would instead pick up the slack by expanding their own mining operations.

“That target I will meet even if (private companies) don’t come in,” he said in a interview on March 23. “In the days to come I’ll be auctioning out more mines. I’ve already got my plans in place.”

NTPC is on course to produce 300 million tonnes alone by 2020, said Goyal, a former investment banker.

India’s success in boosting its coal output after years of missed production targets has been central to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s energy policy.

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