International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL), the consortium of state-run companies, which acquired mines in Mozambique from BritishAustralian metals and mining firm Rio Tinto in 2014, is planning to step up its engagement in that country by setting up a thermal power plant.
NTPC and Coal India, which were earlier part of the consortium, but decided to withdraw from it, are being requested to reconsider their membership to ensure the success of the proposed power venture.
The move has gathered momentum at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to visit Africa later this week.
ICVL’s key partners include SAIL, which is also the lead promoter, along with steel maker RINL and the country’s largest state-run miner NMDC.
“We see a lot of potential in Mozambique and we would like to harness it. ICVL’s mines in that country contain 65% thermal coal reserves, with the rest being coking coal. There is a possibility of setting up a thermal power plant there,” SAIL chairman P K Singh said.
NTPC and CIL had earlier said they were not keen to continue their association with ICVL since they felt the company was formed to mainly acquire coking coal mines for SAIL, RINL and NMDC, which have steelmaking interests.
NTPC had earlier informed the power ministry that it should be allowed to exit ICVL because its coal requirement is very different from those of steel companies such as SAIL and RINL, making the venture an unviable one for it. Similarly, Coal India board had taken a decision to withdraw from ICVL in February 2015.
The two companies have strengths that will be very useful in the proposed power venture, a senior government official said, requesting not to be identified. The initial capacity of the power plant will be 200 mw, which could be expanded up to 2000 mw in future. “NTPC has core competency in power generation, a strength that will be crucial in the venture, while Coal India, the largest domestic coal producer has proven expertise in mi ning,” the official said.
“The power generated in Mozambique can be fed to other African countries too,” he said.
The development signals India’s keenness to grow its presence in Africa. The PM is scheduled to visit four countries -Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya – between July 7 and 11. ICVL had acquired 65% stake in the Benga mine and 100% each in Zambeze and Tete East coal assets in Mozambique for $50 million from Rio Tinto. The remaining 35% shareholding in Benga mine is with Tata Steel.
Created in 2009 to secure metallurgical coal and thermal coal assets abroad, ICVL has set a target of achieving coal reserves of 500 million tonnes by 2019-20.
Source: The Economic Times