GMR bids for coal mines acquisition in Australia, Indonesia

GMR bids for coal mines acquisition in Australia, Indonesia

New Delhi: GMR Infrastructure on Tuesday said it has bid for two coal assets in Australia and Indonesia, aiming to secure raw material needs for its upcoming power projects.

“We have bid for one project each in Indonesia and Australia but I won’t be able to give you the names as we have signed confidentiality agreements," GMR Group chief financial officer A Subba Rao told PTI over the phone from Bangalore.

However, sources said GMR Group is among the shortlised bidders for Bandanna Energy’s coal mines in Australia and is competing with other Indian entities like Aditya Birla Group, JSW Steel, JSPL along with some Chinese and Korean companies.

The company would soon begin the due-diligence of the asset and value of the bid could be anywhere beyond $1 billion, sources added. Rao, however, declined to comment.

Brisbane-based Bandanna Energy has 16 exploration permits for coal in the Bowen and Galilee Basins in Queensland and has commenced a strategic review late last year to develop three projects in Bowen basin.

GMR Group has embarked on a massive expansion plan to increase its power generation capacity to 10,000 MW by 2017 from 823 MW now. It will add 1,768 MW capacity this fiscal.

Asked about the bid for Indonesian coal mine, GMR Group CFO said, “It is a large asset, having a reserve in excess of 500 million tonnes". GMR is looking at a minority stake here.

“All I can say is that it is not a majority stake," Rao said but refused to comment any further.

Industry sources said the asset is located in Kalimantan province of Indonesia but the reserve size and company name could not be immediately verified.

The GMR Group already has operations in Indonesia, from where it is planning to begin the production this year.

“We will begin with two million tonnes production initially. Ramping up the production will depend on whether we require coal here for our operations," he said.

In 2009, GMR Energy had acquired Indonesian coal company PT Barasentosa Lestari for $80 million and has reserves of 100 million tonne.

According to Indonesian Coal Mining Association, India would become the largest importer of coal from the country, surpassing Japan and will be taking as much as 60 million tonnes to meet the rising demand.

By 2013, the coal imports from Indonesia is expected to be over 90 million tonnes, the Indonesian Coal Mining Association had recently said.