India to overtake US as world’s biggest coal producer after China

India, where coal accounts for 61% of electricity generation capacity, is seeking to reduce imports of the fuel by boosting domestic output


India plans to expand coal output to 1.5 billion metric tons by 2020. Photo: Bloomberg
India plans to expand coal output to 1.5 billion metric tons by 2020. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: India is set to surpass the US as the world’s biggest coal producer after China by 2020, as state-miner Coal India Ltd. ramps up output to meet demand from domestic power producers, according to BMI Research.

The South Asian nation’s share of world output will increase to 12.7% by 2020 from 9.8% in 2016, BMI said in a report on Thursday. It cautioned that the country will still fall short of the government’s ambitious coal output target and domestic demand will continue to exceed production up to 2020.

India, where coal accounts for 61% of electricity generation capacity, is seeking to reduce imports of the fuel by boosting domestic output. India foresees coal as a dominant source of energy at least for a couple of decades, while other countries, including the US, are moving faster toward replacing the fuel with cleaner energy sources such as natural gas to meet tougher emissions standards.

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India plans to expand coal output to 1.5 billion metric tons by 2020 from an estimated 634 million tons in the year ended 31 March. China produced nearly 3.7 billion tons of coal last year, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

It may miss its expansion target due to delays in opening up the sector to private companies for commercial mining, BMI said. India’s coal deficit is expected to narrow to 163 million tons by 2020 from 191 million tons in 2016, it said. Bloomberg

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