Sept. 21 – China and India, two emerging Asian giants boasting huge populations and rapid economic growth, are seen as the major drivers in the push to revive the world’s economy. However, the two countries’ needs for natural resources is growing at the same speed as their economies and, in an attempt to satisfy those needs, China and India have started a fierce competition to acquire natural resources.
The latest example of this is both countries’ interest in Australia’s second largest coal field – the northern Galilee Basin in Queensland. Although production on the field won’t begin for another three years, Indian and Chinese companies have already contracted all but 1.2 billion of the more than 20 billion tons of coal resources in the basin.
India’s GVK signed a US$1.3 billion deal with Gina Rinehart, chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting, to acquire 79 percent of Hancock’s Alpha coal mine in the Galilee Basin and 100 percent of another mine next to Alpha named Kevin’s Corner. GVK has also acquired rail and port infrastructure for transportation.
“The first phase of production, expected to start in 2014, envisages a total production of over 30 million tons per annum of high quality thermal coal,” GVK said in a statement.
It is estimated that there are 7.9 billion tons of coal in GVK’s portion in Queensland, which is almost the same as the Adani Group’s purchase in the area. Gautam Adani, head of the Adani Goup and the sixth richest person in India, also sealed a contract in the Galilee basin for some 7.8 billion tons of coal.
Another 3.7 billion tons of the Galilee Basin is held by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, who is developing his deposit in partnership with Chinese investors, according to The Australian. All of Palmer’s output is destined for Chinese power stations, in a 20-year deal worth US$60 billion.
Chinese media reported that China imported some 47.27 million tons of coking coal in 2010, one-third of which came from Australia.
Correction: Sept. 26, 2011
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described GVK as a state-owned company.