- India’s Variety And Abundance Of Resources
- Significant Recent Discovery
- India's Long History Of Mining
- A Highly Qualified Scientific And Mining Engineering Community
- Strategic Location For Export
- Strong Internal Demand Especially For Coal And Gold
- Strong Anti-Corruption And Fight Against Illegal Mining Initiatives
Speaking only about identified reserves, India has the fourth-largest coal reserves in the world and significant reserves of bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, diamonds, and limestone. Gold, copper, zinc and uranium reserves have also been identified, though in a more limited volume.
In terms of production, India ranks 3rd in production of coal & lignite (80% of the mines in India are coal mines), 2nd in barites, 4th in iron ore, 5th in bauxite, and 7th in manganese ore.
“India has, till date, explored only 7-9% of the mineral resources as against almost 100% geophysical and geochemical surveys in countries such as Australia”. This was revealed in September 2011 in a report titled ”Exploring India: Mining the Opportunities” launched by Ernst & Young at a conference organized by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries in Bangalore.
Metals price and the high level of dependency of the country for gold urge India to enter in a more comprehensive exploration of the potential resources of the country. Recent discoveries shown how large this potential might be.
India’s long history of mining, dated back to the first millennium BC with linkages to the Indus Valley Civilization, demonstrates the geological potential of the country and explains its strong mining tradition. Prestigious mining schools, often established by the British, trains highly qualified scientific and mining engineering professionals.
The choice of India as the host country for the 10th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting (New Delhi, November 2012) is enough to demonstrate the high respect the Indian scientific community is held by the worldwide experts in that field. The Fragblast Symposia represents the most important event in disseminating the latest advances in the science and technology of rock fragmentation by blasting and other related means.
“The first symposium was held in Sweden in 1983 and since then it has been convened at intervals of 3 - 4 years at different locations around the world. These locations, selected by a standing International Committee from among several competing submissions, are chosen on the basis of prominence of mining activities and R&D initiatives of the host country.” (Source: Fragblast website)
India’s geographical location makes the country a perfect hub for raw materials or metals exportation to both the developed European markets and the fast-developing Asian markets. Iron ore, steel and aluminum are massively exported to China, UE and Japan.
Roughly, 50% of the steel produced in India is exported, and 50% of this total is exported to China.
India maintained a spectacular growth for the last year and might keep on booming at least until 2030. In order to fuel that development, Indian demand for metals and minerals will continue to grow accordingly.
According to a 2010 report from the McKinsey Global Institute “700 to 900 million square meters of commercial and residential space needs to be built – or a new Chicago every year (…) 2,5 billion square meters of roads will have to be paved, 20 times the capacity added in the past decade (…) [and] 7400 kilometers of metros and subways will need to be constructed, 20 times the capacity added in the past decade”
The new gold discoveries will also be easily absorbed by the internal demand. India is and will remain for long, the world's largest consumer of gold and the world’s largest gold jewelry market.
“Known for corruption in its political, regulatory, and legal systems, India needs to take this issue head-on by instituting new controls, as soon as possible, as corruption continues to damage its markets (…) While the government struggles to modernize the bureaucracy and corruption is a challenge that must be overcome.” (Source : 2011 Ranking Of Countries For Mining Investment)
Potential corruption opportunities arise, inter alia, during the license attribution process. Obtaining a license by corrupting an official means you are illegally exploiting the ore. Corruption leading to faulty undervaluation of exported quantities for tax and royalties avoidance purpose has also been recently reported to be common practice in India.
Since 2006, India set an example of an efficient and pro-active fighting policy against illegal mining and corruption. This is a long-term policy but appointing the retired tough independent Supreme Court Judge N. Santosh Hedge as Lokayukta (Ombudsman) of Karnataka state has been a strong political sign. He soon unveiled a massive illegal iron ore mining involving some of the richest families and mighty politicians of the country. As a first outcome of this fighting policy, the famous Reddy Brothers where sent to jail and actions have been announced against 617 officials, including Ministers.
Upholding this policy might improve India’s ranking and hopefully contribute to attract additional national and foreign investments.