BHP Group expects India's steel production to grow 7% per year over the 2020s, which will fill the looming demand gap for metallurgical coal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
According to Huw McKay, BHP vice president for market analysis, China is now in a "plateau" phase, while demand in other top steel markets such as Japan and South Korea was also subdued.
"A lot of other markets are big but mature," McKay noted. "India is big but it's barely got started.
"The mature markets are sort of settling a little bit and India is coming up, filling a gap that would have emerged."
Despite the country's substantial reserves of iron ore, Indian steelmakers are reliant on metallurgical coal imports due to limited domestic production of the steelmaking ingredient.
India's government is predicting that its metallurgical coal demand will more than double in 10 years with its planned increase in crude steel production to 300 million tonnes by 2030.
Previously, India's coal ministry said it may allow companies from all sectors to bid for coal and lignite mining licenses, a move that is expected to draw investment from Indian and global companies as well as mining majors, The Economic Times reported.