India's coal ministry has asked state-run Coal India to diversify its interests to areas such as electric vehicles and charging stations, according to an agenda document on the ministry's website.
"Coal India must diversify its business and must explore prospects in sunrise industries, electric charging pods, electric vehicles etc," the coal ministry said in a document titled "Ministry of Coal's agenda for 2021-22".
Coal India is the world's largest coal mining company by production and accounts for over 80% of India's output of the fuel.
India is the second-largest importer, consumer and producer of coal, and has the world's fourth-largest reserves. It mainly imports from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.
The federal government-controlled miner has already announced plans to invest in solar wafer manufacturing and power generation, coal gasification, extraction of coal bed methane and setting up aluminium smelters.
India has also asked the miner to consider participating in foreign tenders seeking coal after meeting domestic demand.
"Traders/coal consumers of the neighboring countries can also participate in the Special Spot e-auction / Spot e-auction windows of Coal India," the document read.
The ministry also said a "robust media campaign" was needed for "perception management in the coal sector," adding that plans submitted by Coal India and its units were being finalized.
Indian utilities are currently scrambling to secure coal supplies as inventories hit critical lows after a surge in power demand from industries and sluggish imports due to record global prices push power plants to the brink.
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