The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to team up with Indian state-owned company Coal India Limited to explore opportunities in the South African mining industry value chain, the DTI said on Thursday.

The agreement to explore mutual prospects in South Africa’s coal sector was reached after a meeting between DTI officials and Coal India representatives on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

“Coal of India is in the business of mining and exporting low-grade thermal coal and has been mapping the South African coal mining industry, with the interest of acquiring mining concessions and information on how best to exploit coal deposits in a way that serves the best interest of all stakeholders,” the DTI said in a statement.

During the meeting, the DTI said, it had elaborated on government policies and the regulatory framework in the mining industry, the importance of the sector and the costs involved in the business “in an effort to clarify and provide predictable solutions”.

The DTI’s Yunus Hoosen said discussions like these with different stakeholders were “a breakthrough on how South Africa could engage more productively with investors in the mining sector”.

Hoosen said the talks also served as a platform for encouraging big mining role players to develop smaller mining companies in the coal sector, and also to zoom in on the beneficiation and localisation opportunities within the industry.