Australian delegation calls on Coal Minister

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New Delhi, Feb 5(ANI): An Australian delegation led by Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism Martin Ferguson on Friday called on Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal in the national capital.

The delegation including the Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese and senior officials from both sides held a meeting, in which the Ministers underlined the prospects and potentials for expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation in the field of business, commerce, investments and especially in coal mining.

The Australian Minister informed that large investments are planned to upgrade the rail, road and port infrastructure over the next four - five years in Australia, which will facilitate greater exports of coal and other resources.

The Australian Government also encourages foreign investments in the mining sector in their country.

Indian companies, including Government companies engaged in coal mining, would find it more useful to enter into joint venture arrangements with their Australian counterparts.

He also informed that a major rail corridor is being planned in Queensland, which will open up large resource deposits for exploitation.

Indian companies interested in investing coal mining would find it very useful to move early to acquire mining concessions in that region.

Ferguson also extended an invitation to Jaiswal, to attend the Energy and Mining Forum planned to be held in Perth sometime in May 2010.

Recalling his very fruitful visit to Australia in September 2009, Jaiswal expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the implementation of the Joint Strategic Action Plan for coal sector drawn up between the two countries.

To improve the methodologies used for exploration in India, two workshops were arranged in Kolkata and Nagpur, where experts from Australia had shared their experiences with the Indian explorers.

He said India would be looking forward to deputing a big team to participate in the Energy and Mining Forum in Perth.

The Coal Minister said he would also encourage Coal India Limited to explore vigorously the opportunities for acquiring mineral concessions in Queensland.

He also sought assistance and support of the Australian Government in facilitating grant of mining concessions to Coal India Limited in Australia.

Jaiswal reiterated the possibility of close collaboration between two institutions engaged in promoting exploration and mining technologies, namely, CSIRO in Australia and CMPDIL in India.

As per the Coal Action Plan, the two institutions were to explore the opportunity of entering into a Memorandum of Understanding.

The Coal Minister suggested that the two Governments should encourage these two institutions to expedite the process. (ANI)

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