India eyes Polish, Czech coal mining technology

Pratim Ranjan Bose Kolkata | Updated on July 11, 2011 Published on July 04, 2011

India has invited coal mining technology majors from the former Soviet bloc of Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus to open offices in India and participate in the modernisation and underground capacity enhancement initiatives of Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Neyvelli Lignite Corporation (NLC).

A ministerial delegation, including the Coal Minister and top official of CIL and NLC, had visited the East European countries last month.

In addition to ensuring price competition, the move is apparently aimed at diversifying India's technology import basket, which has recently tilted in favour of the Chinese manufacturers for underground technologies and US-based companies for the opencast equipment.

According to informed sources, except for one occasion (when an Ukrainian company submitted competitive bids), the competition for supplying underground equipment such as continuous miner or long-wall technologies was restricted mainly to Chinese companies.

Similarly, the US-based manufacturers were found leading the race for supply of high-value opencast equipment. Though the Belarusian major BelAZ put up a stiff competition on one occasion by lowering rates below the L1 bidder — for a proposed Rs 1,500-crore purchase — the tender was cancelled on “procedural” grounds.

Sources suggest that despite having proven technologies, all these companies left the Indian market space following the collapse of Soviet Union two decades back (and the resulting failure to serve the contracts on hand) but were now eager to make a comeback.

While BelAZ and one company each from Poland and Czech Republic have already opened offices in India, others are reportedly actively scouting for local partners.

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Published on July 04, 2011
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