Madu Koneru, vice chairman of MEC, told Reuters: “India has one of the fastest growing economies and also has a shortage of power supply so that’s why we have decided to go ahead with these deals.”

“We are close to signing a contact with a number of Indian power plants who need to be supplied with coal over the coming 15 years, the deals will be finalised by the end of next month,”

MEC is a joint venture between RAK Minerals and Metals Investments (RMMI) and UAE-based mining company Trimex. In March, RMMI received a license to build a 150km rail link to carry coal from a mine in East Kalimantan province of Indonesia to a coal terminal.

As reported, the project has a cost estimate of approximately $1 billion. RMMI is expected to provide $100m of the initial $600m investment. About $500m will come from institutions such as the World Bank. The rest would come from additional partners.

MEC is planning to start shipments of three to five million tonnes of thermal coal via road and shipments would rise to 17 million tonnes once the rail project is complete.