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In Search of Minerals:Corporate India looks for Bigger Bites.

As commodity prices soar, and secure supplies become ever more alluring, the queue of companies seeking to invest in Indonesian natural resources reads like a "Who's Who" of global industrialists. India's Reliance Power, an energy company controlled by the billionaire Anil Ambani, announced plans to invest $650m in a coal mine in May. In April, the government revealed that Lakshmi Mittal, the boss of ArcelorMittal and Britain's richest man, is looking to invest up to $10 billion in steel, iron ore, nickel and other projects.


In March Guohua Electric Power Corporation, a subsidiary of China Shenhua Energy, China's top coal producer, received approval to develop a coal mine and power plant in Indonesia, its first overseas venture. And last year Tata Power, another Indian energy firm, paid $1.1 billion for stakes in two Indonesian coal mines owned by Bumi Resources. With UBS, an investment bank, predicting that the world's supplies of thermal coal, the sort mined in Indonesia, will fall 14m tonnes short this year, the
scramble for assets is easy to understand.

Asian firms are also muscling in on the sprawling archipelago's oil and gas industry. In March Japan Petroleum Exploration and Mitsubishi said they would spend $360m to buy half of the Kangean gas block in Java. Mitsubishi is developing a liquefied natural gas plant with Medco Energi, a local firm, for $1.4 billion. Mitsui, another Japanese conglomerate, is investing in a refinery.

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