Taipower in Talks to Buy Into Australia’s Hancock Coal Project

Taiwan Power Co., the island’s state-run utility, is in talks to invest in a mine in Australia being developed by Hancock Coal, owned by India’s GVK Group and Hancock Prospecting Pty, to help secure supplies of the fuel.

The talks are at an initial stage, Roger Lee, spokesman of the Taipei-based company, said today by phone, without giving details.

Taiwan imports all the coal it requires. The fuel accounted for about 40 percent of the island’s electricity output last year, according to Lee. A deal with Hancock would be the utility’s second investment in a coal mine, after it acquired a 10 percent stake in the Bengalla mine in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, he said.

Paul Mulder, head of GVK Group and Hancock Prospecting’s Hancock Coal unit, couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone for comment.

Taiwan Power, known as Taipower, is the island’s monopoly grid operator and biggest electricity producer. It buys about 27 million metric tons of coal a year, according to Lee.