Canadian High Commissioner in India Stewart Beck on Tuesday met N Kumar, Director (Technical) of Coal India Ltd, to seek investments for coal assets in British Columbia.

Coal is the mainstay of the British Columbian economy, on the west coast of Canada, representing over half of the total mineral production and the single largest export commodity of the province.

Though primarily a producer of metallurgical coal (used in firing blast furnaces for manufacturing steel), the Canadian province also has a fair share of thermal coal assets.

“It was a preliminary discussion. We have already floated a tender for exploring investment opportunities abroad,” Kumar told Business Line.

CIL currently holds interests in two assets in Mozambique acquired through a concession agreement between the African and Indian Governments.

As part of its plan to gainfully utilise the huge cash reserve, the national miner made an attempt in 2009-11 to acquire coal assets abroad. A couple of assets were also short-listed. However, the intricate Government policies on risk mitigation came in the way of striking the deals.

“I think it’s incumbent on the Government that the risk factor is reduced, otherwise this (acquisition plan) is not going to move,” the then coal secretary Alok Perti had said in a conference in Kolkata.

Earlier, at a meeting organised by the CII here, the Canadian High Commissioner said bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to grow 12 per cent in 2014. The Indo-Canadian trade stood at $5.5 billion in 2013.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 9, 2014)