Virendra (centre) speaking during the media conference, as Sumit (left) and Siva look on.

KUCHING: India- and South Africa-based multi-national conglomerate Osho Ventures (Osho), has expressed keen interest in investing significant sums into Sarawak’s coal mining industry.

This is seen as a golden opportunity which would significantly benefit the state’s economy and potentially place Malaysia on the global map as a major player in the coal industry.

“The initial stage investment is estimated at USD10 million (RM40 million) for technical studies,” said Virendra Kumar Agrawal, executive chairman of Osho.

He said that after these studies, they would then be able to further plan how much more would be required, with approximately USD200 million (RM820 million) potentially being invested.

According to Osho, also known as Osho Group of Companies, there were several locations in Sarawak with rich coal deposits, lying idle underground for the most part as coal mining is not a major industry here.

Virendra (centre) speaking during the media conference, as Sumit (left) and Siva look on.

He said these deposits can be translated into revenue for the state government by way of royalties and taxes on exports.

Osho revealed that they had identified 20 locations in Sarawak and conducted prospecting surveys, with five sites having been confirmed to be available.

This could augur well for the growth of the state’s economy with the corporation bringing in coal mining infrastructure, expertise, and new technology, in addition to the augmentation of employment opportunities for Sarawakians.

“About 4,000 jobs would be created from the development of this coal mining project, with 90 percent being local and 10 percent being from abroad,” said Virendra during a media conference at Riverside Majestic Hotel here, yesterday. 

Sumit Agrawal, founder and managing director of Osho, said, “The coal extracted could cater for local demand as well as export.

“Having an in-house coal mine would definitely reduce the power cost of cement being produced locally, and there are a lot of spin-offs from a coal mining project such as the rapid development of the surrounding area.”

The Osho representatives expressed hope that the state government would grant them permission to explore the coal mining potential here, approve permits, and provide support to make this a sustainable profit venture for all parties.

Virendra pointed out that Indonesia, Sarawak’s neighbour, was exporting over 400 million tonnes of coal every year with an estimated revenue of USD22 billion (RM90 billion) annually.

He indicated that Sarawak should follow suit and take the opportunity to make full use of its rich coal resources.

Also present was Siva Kumar G, group managing director at Asia Public Relations Sdn Bhd.