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Modern mining equipment will be a key success factor

Modern mining equipment will be a key success factor

Equipment companies would like to see better procurement methodologies which are technology-driven rather than just low capital cost-oriented, Somnath Dutta Majumdar, Business Line Manager-Drilling Solutions, and Anirban Sen, Business Line Manager-Underground Rock Excavation, Atlas Copco, tell Sumantra Das.

How do you assess the major challenges in Indian mining sector? Do you see a revival of the mining industry in the near future?
The government policies on awarding environment/forest clearances to projects and lack of proper policy on rehabilitation and land acquisition are some of the major challenges which the Indian mining industry faces today.

We expect that the demand for metal, coal, and iron ore will continue northwards, given the huge demand within the country itself with more than one billion population. The policy makers also need to pull up their socks for the new project clearances and the miners too need to mine responsibly keeping the environment in view.

We would also like to bring into focus the lack of skilled manpower in mining industry which is becoming a concern. Mining should become like IT (where the government has taken active interest) where we can develop a pool of skilled people like operators/mechanics.

What is the extent of using modern technology and equipment in Indian mining sector today?
Mining, like all other sectors, faces pressure to control production cost without compromising on the essence of environment-friendly operations. Moving to modern mining equipment will be a key success factor for competing in this segment.

Today, there are large surface coal and iron ore mines in India which use state-of-the-art equipment. The underground base metal mines have chalked out programmes for modernisation and are using high-end mining equipment including drilling, rock bolting, mucking and hauling.

How can technology play a major role in reviving the mining sector which is suffering from lack of innovative approach and policy related issues?
Technology does and will continue to play a vital role in maintaining the desired productivity and in supporting the concerns of environment-friendly mining, which is a key challenge to the mining sector today. We are already witnessing to technology changing the way the mines operate today.

How far can the government support in bringing in modern equipment and technologies to mining?
The government could do something like what they have done in IT to attract manpower to work in the mining industry. Once this is done, automatically, best practices will be followed and consequently the best technology will be imbibed.

There are examples in the private sector today, where entities have started from scratch and have developed world-class mines and manpower.

Equipment companies would also like to see better procurement methodologies which are technology driven rather than just low capital cost oriented.

We expect the government to allow global private miners to enter surface coal mining and bring in technology and competence to the local industry.

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