India’s annual coal demand rose 9.1% during the year ending March 2019.
That’s according to India’s Coal Minister, Pralhad Joshi, who said the figure hit 991.35 million tonnes, driven primarily by utilities, which accounted for three-quarters of total demand.
Their coal consumption rose by 6.6% to 760.66 million tonnes over the period.
India is one of the biggest global importers of the fossil fuel, despite having the world’s fifth largest reserves – its imports rose to 235.24 million tonnes last year, up from from 208.27 million tonnes in 2017-18.
The rest of supply was provided through domestic supplies, which rose to 734.23 million tonnes last year, although it was not sufficient to meet total demand – there was a national shortfall of 23.35 million tonnes, around double that of the previous year.
Pralhad Joshi stated this occurred mainly as a result of state-run producer Coal India’s inability to meet surging demand from the country’s cement and iron industries.
He noted to increase future output levels, Coal India is now prioritising starting production at mines with a capacity exceeding 10 million tonnes per year and adopting increasingly mechanised techniques.
The producer is targeting a total production of 660 million tonnes in 2019-20.
The US has signed a deal which will see it help build six new nuclear power plants in India.