| NEW DELHI, March 14
NEW DELHI, March 14 India could be the top
buyer of Indonesian thermal coal next year even if the southeast
Asian country introduces an export tax on its product, a slim
majority of respondents in a spot poll of attendees at the
Coaltrans conference in New Delhi said.
Prices could rise "moderately" as a result of any export tax
on coal by Indonesia, according to 75 percent of the delegates
who took part in the electronic vote on Wednesday.
About 58 percent of respondents said in 2013 India would be
Indonesia's biggest buyer of thermal coal even if the export tax
was imposed. No details on number of voters was available.
The delegates who voted in the poll represented end-users,
producers, traders, brokers, surveyors and shipping agents.
Indonesia, a major global producer of raw materials, said
last year it would look to introduce export taxes for coal and
base metals from 2012, as it tries to encourage more investment
in its mining sector.
Coal demand in India, Asia's third-largest economy, is set
to jump to 980 million tonnes by 2017, but output in this period
may only be 795 million tonnes, coal ministry figures say.
Output from state-run Coal India, which accounts
for about 80 percent of the country's production, should be 464
million tonnes in 2012/13 and about 440 million tonnes in
2011/12 -- suggesting there will continue to be a substantial
gap to be filled by imports.
Indonesia is currently the leading supplier to India
followed by Australia.
Australia could take over the leading slot early next
decade, as Indonesia focuses on filling domestic demand,
research consultants Wood Mackenzie said.
(Editing by Jo Winterbottom)