Anil Agarwal says Vedanta, Anglo American could join hands to mine coal in India; billionaire optimistic about Tuticorin smelter

Mining majors Vedanta Limited and Anglo American Plc could together mine coal in India. The firms might table joint bids at the next round of auctions, according to a media report.

Billionaire Anil Agarwal is Anglo American's largest shareholder. Vedanta will reportedly play the role of  a "catalyst” if Anglo American decides to set foot on the Indian subcontinent. “I have told them [Anglo American] that you should look at India also. They are considering participating in coal auctions and are open to other opportunities,”  Vedanta chairman Agarwal told The EconomicTimes.

Talking about his company's inoperative copper smelter in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, Agarwal said that those who have been hit by the shutdown will unite and that "they will do whatever they need to in approaching the government..."

Last week, the Mint reported that Volcan Investments Ltd, the trust controlled by Agarwal, was mulling to acquire control of Anglo American’s South African business. The report claimed that the merger will create an entity worth about $7 billion.

 Anil Agarwal says Vedanta, Anglo American could join hands to mine coal in India; billionaire optimistic about Tuticorin smelter

A file photo of Anil Agarwal. Image courtesy: Twitter/@AnilAgarwal_Ved

In February 2018, India decided to auction coal blocks to private companies, a move that will end Mumbai-traded Coal India Limited ’s (CIL) near-monopoly status.

In March 2017, Agarwal said he had no plans to buy assets in South Africa from Anglo American, or to push for a board seat after announcing a plan to acquire a 13 percent stake in the mining giant.

He had said that he’d be happy to help Anglo American move into India if they wished “at some point in time to expand their business.”

In February that year, Vedanta held talks with the Indian government on developing clean coal, as coal is “a core part” of India's energy mix despite its high level of carbon emissions.

Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese said back then that coal is still needed in the global energy mix but that it would be phased out unless carbon capture technology was rolled out more widely. “Unless there is a new technology breakthrough, coal is likely to be phased out over a period of decades,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has struggled to get off the ground as firms with limited spending power see no advantage in being the first to work on technology that is likely to become affordable only when developed on a large scale.

With inputs from Reuters

Updated Date: Jul 12, 2018 01:23:26 IST