Russia to provide India with metallurgic coal from Arctic

Russia is going to increase its coal exports to India sixfold by 2025. Most of this coal is supposed to be extracted in the Russian Arctic and then shipped via the Northern Sea Route. Coal supplies from Taymyr are expected to substantially contribute to the fulfilment of Russia’s ambitious route development plan.

Russian coal companies are ready to satisfy India's growing demand for the mineral, says The Maritime Executive citing First Deputy Minister for Development of Far East and Arctic Sergey Tyrtsev. ''I believe that we can increase the supply by six times exporting up to 28 million tonnes per year to the Republic of India by 2025,'' stated the official at a meeting with Indian Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Debendra Pradhan last month.

India needs about 70 million tonnes of high-quality coal for its aluminium and steel industry, said Pradhan during his visit to the Russian Far East with leaders of India’s biggest industrial companies last month. Thus, the Indian side is interested in ''establishing partnership relations both with regard to purchase of the coal and joint efforts for its extraction'', according to a statement by Vostok Coal mining company, which is developing several major mining projects in the Taymyr Peninsula.

Vostok Coal believes that the resources of coal in the Taymyr tundra are unprecedented, estimating that the Taymyr coal basin has as much as 225 billion tonnes of the high-quality mineral. The company plans to extract 30 million tonnes of anthracite, high-quality coal, from its fields in Taymyr annually. The Barents Observer says that another mining company, Severnaya Zvezda, intends to start production in the region in 2020. To ship the coal, it is going to use a new port terminal near Dikson on the Kara Sea coast.

Coal cargoes from Taymyr are essential for the fulfilment of Russia’s development plans for the Northern Sea Route. According to President Vladimir Putin’s national 5-year plan presented after his re-election in 2018, the volume of the Arctic shipping route should surge to 80 million tonnes per year. Reaching this ambitious goal is hardly possible without coal shipments from Taymyr.

Last year, Russia's coal exports to India amounted to 4,5 million tonnes of coal. Overall, Russia's coal production increased by more than 30 per cent to 440 million tonnes over the last decade making the country the world's third-largest producer. The country intends to increase coal production by another 50 per cent in the next 15 years.

By Anna Litvina