Tata Group looking to partner with South African coal miner

The Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate, is said to be investigating a joint venture with South African coal producer Increase Coal (Pty) Ltd.

Hindu Business Line reports that the proposed tie-up could produce about 9 million tonnes of met coal per annum destined for India's steel mills, or exported to Corus, a subsidiary of Tata Steel.

Increase Coal's mine is about 500 kilometres from Richards Bay Coal Terminal in South Africa, which is the world's largest coal export terminal with throughput capacity of 91 million tonnes per annum. Tata Steel has two collieries in West Bokaro and Jharia, about 150k from the steel plant at Jamshedpur, notes Hindu Business Line.

Hit by shortages, Indian steel companies are clamouring for ready supplies of metallurgical coal used in steelmaking.

Back in November, Tata Steel was reportedly making a bid for for Queensland-based New Hope Corp. But in March, New Hope said it would not put itself up for auction for more than $5 billion after a five-month sale process failed to come up with a deal. Other potential suitors included Korean consortium Aditya Birla and Shenhua Group of China.