India's Adani sees six-fold rise in coal mining volume despite challenges in Australia

India's Adani Group expects an over six-fold rise in coal mining volumes by the end of fiscal year 2021, an executive said on Tuesday, despite its struggle to develop a coal project in Australia.

The resources conglomerate is looking to buy mines in countries such as Indonesia and is securing financing for its Carmichael mine in Australia amid challenges from environmental groups concerned about climate change and potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani's coal mining volumes are expected to be 80 million tonnes by the end of March 2021, from 12.17 million tonnes at the end of fiscal year 2017, said Sudhir Kumar Agrawal, the techno-commercial head of Adani Ports And SEZ Ltd.

The group's coal handling volumes are expected to rise 57 percent to 127 million tonnes by the end of 2021, Agrawal said at the India coal conference in New Delhi.

The Adani Group, which handles about a third of India's imported coal and is India's largest coal trader, expects a "reasonable rise in imports" till fiscal year 2021 due to "rail transportation challenges".

Coal imports would begin to stagnate from the beginning of fiscal year 2022 as a "significant portion of logistical challenges for domestic coal would have been addressed," Agrawal said.

Thermal coal imports rose by more than 14 percent in the second quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, putting the energy-hungry nation on track for a rise in annual imports after two straight years of decline.

Higher consumption in China, along with rising Indian imports, has been a major driver behind the strong recovery seen in benchmark Australian coal prices this year.

The capacity at Adani ports-operated Dhamra port, located in the mineral rich state of Odisha, will be quadrupled to 80 million tonnes per year, he said. (Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan in Delhi and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and David Evans)