By Sudarshan Varadhan
BAMBOLIM, India (Reuters) - Indian resources conglomerate Adani Enterprises Ltd is looking to buy mines in countries such as Indonesia, a company executive told Reuters on Wednesday, despite its struggles to develop a controversial coal project in Australia.
The company already owns a coal mine in Indonesia, but has been unable to secure financing for the long-delayed Carmichael mine in Australia amid numerous court challenges from environmental groups concerned about climate change and potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef.
"We have a mine in Indonesia, and we are looking for more options there," Rajendra Singh, chief operating officer of Adani's coal trading business, said on the sidelines of the Coaltrans India conference in the coastal town of Bambolim in Goa state.
"We're also keeping our eyes open for options in other areas like south African countries, countries like Russia. We are not eyeing for specific grades, we are looking for viable options. We mainly look at reserves, production costs and logistics."
He said there was "opportunity in the U.S." as well given that India imports coal from there. Singh, however, did not say if any deal was in the works.
Adani is also India's biggest trader of coal, with volumes of 81 million tonnes in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2017, sourced mainly from Indonesia and Africa. India, the world's second biggest coal importer after China, brought in a total of 190 million tonnes last fiscal year.
Singh said the company's market share in coal trading in the country was going to increase after it extended to retail markets, especially brick kilns and sponge irons.
The company has also recently started trading coal in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in addition to its operations in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and China, he said.
"Asian countries are going to add a lot of demand in the coal market, especially South Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan," Singh said. "On the supply side, there are limitations. Tonnages are increasing, but quality is decreasing. And to compensate for quality, they have to increase tonnages."
Pakistan imported 11.2 million tonnes of coal last year, up from around 3.4 million tonnes bought in 2013. Its purchases are expected to jump to 40 million tonnes by 2025.
Populous and power-starved Bangladesh is also ramping up coal imports to light up new homes in an election year. Adani Group's Adani Power in November signed a long-term agreement to sell electricity to Bangladesh.
(Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Adrian Croft)