A long-term strategic bend and technological advancements prerequisites for India’s mining industry’s future – Mr Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, Mines
West Bengal is drawing up policies to strengthen its position in mining, oil, and gas space – Dr. Shashi Panja, Minister for Industries, Commerce & Enterprises, West Bengal
The country’s mining industry needs to have a fresh outlook toward forging a dynamic ecosystem in India. The mining industry must prioritize developing its strengths in technological advancements and cost management instead of its traditional focus areas of workforce and incentives to stay ahead of the global growth curve, said Mr. Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India, while addressing the second day Special Plenary of CII’s Global Mining Summit, held today in Kolkata, West Bengal. Given the global disruptions and the global industry getting ever more competitive, Mr. Bharadwaj added that the country’s industry must inculcate strategic thinking going well into the future with a special thrust on innovation to flourish. He further emphasized that in order to overcome challenges and develop capabilities, the industry should not shy away from going beyond the borders and acquiring niche foreign-based organizations specializing in areas including engineering, design, and other aspects. He further assured the industry of active government support and asked all the stakeholders to come together and adopt the approach of ‘collaboration and cooperation in order collectively build a thriving industry.
While welcoming Mr. Bharadwaj, Mr. Sunil Duggal, Chairman, CII National Committee on Mining and Group CEO, of Vedanta Ltd. appreciated the efforts taken by the government in recent years to uplift investors’ confidence and sentiments in the mining industry. Mr. Duggal added that while the industry and the ease of doing business in India have come a long way, however, he said that there still remain a few concerns that need immediate attention. These included robust involvement of junior exploration companies, allowing capital buybacks for raising working capital, addressing delays in statutory clearances in land acquisitions, having a ‘Single Window-Dual System’ at both the centre and the state governments level to boost EODB levels, scientifically demarcating eco-sensitive areas and leaving them out of leasing options and incentivizing extraction of associate minerals.
While addressing a separate Plenary Session, Dr. Shashi Panja, Hon’ble Minister for Industries, Commerce & Enterprises and Department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare – Government of West Bengal, said that West Bengal holds rich reserves of several minerals and is one of the leading states in mining. Dr. Panja added that West Bengal’s potential can be gauged from the fact that it has Asia’s largest coal mine and that its mining industry has grown at a CAGR of 7.1% in the last four fiscals. She highlighted that in addition to traditional minerals; the state is well poised to emerge as a major supplier of oil and shale gas. She further underscored the state government’s industry-oriented approach as evident from its Sand Mining Policy, launched in 2021, through which a lot of incentivisation and process streamlining has been done and inviting the wider minerals and mining equipment industry to invest in the state.
In his address, Mr. Vikram Merchant, Country Head – India, Rio Tinto, stressed upon the importance of prioritizing decarbonization and said that in order to boost the industry’s growth prospects, the government should consider developing a stable and predictable tax regime, providing pre-determined approval timelines and allowing freedom to market mined products.
The Summit witnessed wide participation and rich deliberations by senior Government officials and senior industry representatives/ CXOs from diverse verticals within mining and mineral sectors and focussed on essential themes to revitalize the industry including enhancing the ease of doing business, securing critical minerals, responsible mining with an eye on India’s net-zero targets, technology and automation, and digital and urban mining.