CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Indian mining company Vedanta Resources <VED.L> has held talks with the Indian government on developing clean coal, as coal is "a core part" of the energy mix despite its high level of carbon emissions, the firm's CEO said.
Just over a year after the December 2015 Paris agreement on lowering global carbon emissions, mining bosses meeting in Cape Town this week said coal could be central for decades to come.
Vedanta CEO Tom Albanese said coal was still needed in the global energy mix but would be phased out unless carbon capture technology was rolled out more widely.
"Unless there is a new technology breakthrough, coal is likely to be phased out over a period of decades," he told Reuters in an interview.
"I spend time in India talking to Indian policy makers about how Vedanta and India should be part of the solution because coal will need to be part of the solution in India for a longer duration than in a relatively wealthy society like Europe, the U.S. and Japan."
Carbon capture and storage has struggled to get off the ground as firms with limited spending power see no advantage in being the first to work on technology that is only likely to become affordable when developed on a large scale.
The companies have an interest in developing affordable clean coal not just because they mine the fuel but because global warming adds to the industry's many challenges, such as shortages of water.
Albanese said he had spoken to India's Ministry of Mines and Power, but the ministry declined to confirm any such talks when contacted by Reuters.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Stephen Coates)