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Thai firm plans new coal mine in Indonesia


September 13, 2008

Thai firm plans new coal mine in Indonesia
Thai coal miner and ethanol producer Lanna Resources said it planned to open another mine in Indonesia by the fourth quarter to help ease the impact of the forced closure of one of its existing mines there, Reuters reported.

The opening had been delayed from earlier this year due to heavy rains in Indonesia, where until recently the company operated two coal mines, business development director Srihasak Arirachchkaran told Reuters on Thursday.

"We want to speed up operating this mine because it should help compensate for the second mine," he said.

Lanna's coal business contributes almost 90 percent of sales and nearly half of profit.

However, in July an Indonesian court revoked the licence of one of its two mines in the country, which was operated by its 55 percent owned Indonesian subsidiary.

The government may grant a new licence for the mine and Lanna could work with the new operator.

Lanna planned to spend $10 million next year to develop the third mine, which should produce about 50,000-100,000 tonnes this year, rising to 1.2-1.5 million tonnes in
2009 and 2 million tonnes in 2010, Srihasak said.

Despite the mine closure, rising prices for coal and ethanol should help Lanna show higher earnings this year.

"We still have growth in terms of both the top line and bottom line because prices of coal and ethanol are much better than expected," he said without giving a specific forecast.

Coal prices were expected to rise to $60 per tonne in the second half from the first half's $55, but prices next year are expected to fall in line with global crude prices, Srihasak said.

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