Do poor Indians and Chinese need Australian coal?

This has reference to the news items that the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will arrive in New Delhi today on a four-day visit. It is widely expected that he will advocate for, among other things, increased coal and Uranium export from Australia to India. The issue of coal export to India gains significance in the backdrop that world’s largest coal mine in Australia is being planned to be developed by Indian company Adani Australia.

Such an export of coal from Australia is being pursued in the guise of “lifting over a Billion Indians from the clutches of poverty”. It is also reported from the Australian media that this mine (Carmichael Coal Mine in the state of Queensland) will produce two types of coal of which the low quality (high ash content) coal is being planned to be exported to India, whereas good quality coal is planned to be sold to other premium markets.


​In this context, the true relevance of coal import from Australia needs to be questioned since it will have huge social and environmental implications also in addition to the cost implications. ​

An open letter (of 5 November 2014), which was sent to the Australian political leaders highlighting the India’s true relevance of coal import from Australia, as forwarded below is self-explanatory, and may please be considered for publication while the Australian PM is in India to reveal the associated problems to the Indian society.

Shankar Sharma

Shankar Sharma

Over 35 years of professional experience in electricity industry in the areas of generation, transmission and distribution worked with Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Govt. of India; Electricity Corporation of New Zealand, New Zealand and Queensland Electricity Transmission Corporation, Brisbane, Australia.

Working with many NGOs and educational institutions on power sector reforms, Climate Change, and sustainable life style issues.


  1. “Power Sector Road Map for Tamil Nadu – 2050”; April 2016;
  2. “Integrated Power Policy”, Sept. 2012;
  3. Written a handbook on the relevance of nuclear power in joint authorship with Dr. A N Nagaraj

Compiled two reports

  1. for Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on recommendations for state action plan on Climate Change, June 2015;
  2. a survey report for Greenpeace India  “Still Waiting” on energy injustice , 2008.



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