Foreigners bet on coal mining in Indonesia

Country's low costs remain a draw amid volatile mining rules

WHEN Vivek Agarwal's company first bought a licence to explore for coal in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province, it expected to secure the permits to begin mining in about six months and sell the coal to power stations in India and China. That was in 2010.

After three years of presentations to local officials and more than US$1 million spent in consultancy and government fees, the company, Bhoruka Mines, a unit of the Bangalore- based Bhoruka Group, is still no closer to mining.

Yet Mr Agarwal, Bhoruka Mines' president director and CEO, says his company won't shelve its first foray into Indonesia.

Why? Because Indonesian thermal coal is better and cheaper than what the company could ever hope to...

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