Melbourne: A Bangalore based Indian jewellery giant plans to invest up to $700 million in Australia's mining sector and opening jewellery stores in the country, which will deepen business ties between the two nations.
"We have been importing gold from Australia on and off in the past, but now we want to have a formal presence in Australia," Rajesh Mehta, owner of Rajesh Exports said.
The company wanted to invest up to $700 million in Australia with primary focus in buying stakes in mines, Mr Mehta was quoted as saying by the Fairfax Media.
"We are setting up a subsidiary in Melbourne primarily to look into acquiring interests into the gold sector of Australia, looking at gold mining assets in terms of equity or loan or whatever is feasible for us so we can ensure a reliable and permanent gold supply-line to our company. "
"We would also like to invest in the retail jewellery sector in Australia - that is, take the gold from here, process it in India and then supply the jewellery back here in the retail line that we set up here," he said.
"We have met a lot of investment bankers here and we are evaluating the best way to get in, what is the best way to do it. We can be a good consuming partner for them," he said.
For comparison, Australian mines were estimated by Surbiton Associates to produce 284 tonnes of gold last year and the nation ranks as the world's second biggest gold producer behind China.
Mr Mehta would not name the Australian mines nor companies that he was looking at, but said talks with advisers had begun.
He said the timing was good for an Indian company to be investing in Australia.
"We hear currently there is good government support in Australia and there is encouragement in the other sectors to participate in the gold sector in Australia, plus the time is right because the assets are available at a reasonable price so all these things combined together, we feel it is the right time to get into Australia and acquire some assets and secure our supply lines," he said.
If successful in buying Australian gold assets, Mr Mehta's Indian company would be a rarity in a sector where foreign investment has typically come from North American or Chinese buyers, Sydney Morning Herald reported.