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India’s Global Mining Summit in Kolkata

india.jpgLast week’s conference and the accompanying exhibition in Kolkata were summed up at the end of the conference by Rajive Kaul, Past President and Chairman CII Trade Fair Council, who said, “With nine sessions, 50 speakers, 400 delegates, 218 exhibitors, a elaborate buyer-seller meet between mining companies and equipment manufacturers and 4,000 visitors in the first two days, the event has been received with overwhelming response.”

At the closing conference session, S. Narsingh Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, Coal India Ltd said that “Logistics is posing a major constraint for coal production as far as rail connectivity is concerned.” He added that the high freight cost has a significant impact on production. A dedicated freight corridor is required for the transport of coal.

There is a huge deficit in coal production presently in the country which cannot be achieved by import alone. “Land acquisition, rehabilitation and environmental sustainability are some of the concern areas that need to be addressed.” said Rao. With a target of production of 680 Mt of coal in the 11th five year plan, 540 Mt has been achieved which leaves with a huge deficit to be bridged. In a country where coal dominates energy generation, focus must be given to increase the per capita power consumption.

Rao felt that that it is time for India to create a new roadmap and expressed the need for a revolution in the coal sector like the digital revolution in India, to ramp up coal production.

Dean R. Thompson, Consul General, Consulate General of the United States of America, Kolkata, said “Technology is a key component to India’s ambitious growth plans in the mining sector. India has the potential to draw an investment of about $30-40 billion in the next decade. ”

V. K. Arora, Chairman, CII Mining and Construction Equipment Division said that the “Summit laid out the policy and regulatory imperatives to boost investment into the mining sector, improve and harness new technology and the processes and practices required to make India a global leader in mining.”

He noted certain vital action points that need to be followed including areas like technology development, safety concerns of workers, and development of supporting infrastructure. He hoped that once the MMDR Bill gets properly implemented it will promote new investments in exploration and increase the availability of minerals.

Sudhir L Deoras, Deputy Chairman, CII Eastern Region said the summit “had helped to evolve a roadmap for the mining sector in India” He stated that it could help create as many as 13-15 million new jobs and in terms of tax revenues and other revenues to the government, there is potential for as much as $50-70 billion worth of contribution.

Madan Mohanka, Past Chairman, Mining Construction Equipment Division said that “India is aiming to move the mining sector’s share in GDP to 8%. The mineral sector contributes significantly to a country’s economic growth and this presents ample opportunities to foreign players.” He said that the mining industry is looking forward to increased investment from both domestic industries as also from foreign partners to unleash the potential.