It’s Time to Tighten Ties – 1

Introduction – Why the Indian Mining sector needs Global partnerships?

Over the past few years, we at responsiblemining.in have been watching the Mining space in India keenly, sometimes with hope and excitement and sometimes with consternation and concern. The huge potential that the sector holds sparks excitement but the lack of initiative to propel growth precipitates worry. Our mandate therefore has been to draw attention to the glaring gap between the potential and the actual growth of the mining Industry in India and to scout for ways to shrink it. 

In our previous blogs, we have often focussed on the need for changes in policy and regulations to give the much needed fillip to the mining industry. While internal changes and support could surely solve some of the problems that the industry faces, they wouldn’t be entirely adequate to boost growth to desired levels. Perhaps it is time to broaden our focus to a wider orbit that includes the rest of the globe. As noted psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt mentions in his TED talk

The most powerful force ever known on this planet is human cooperation – a force for construction and destruction”

There are countries around the Globe who have made much better use of their resources than India has and India could do better by using this ‘most powerful and constructive force’ of co-operation to learn and grow.

The following distressing facts highlight the vast distance that India has to cover to catch up with other mining countries.

  • While in other resource rich countries like Canada Australia and South Africa, mining contributes to around 8% of the GDP, in India, the corresponding figure is a meagre 1.4 %. Though India has abundant mineral resources, they are grossly under utilised. 
  • Canada and Australia account for 14 % &13 %  respectively of the total global mining exploration expenditure, while India accounts  for a paltry 2 %
  • Exploration in India is mostly limited to a depth of 50–100 m, compared to 300 m in Australia. 
  • A survey conducted by Fraser Institute in 2016, places India in the 97th position amongst 104 countries in the Investment Attractiveness Index for mining. India has been ranked 59th out of 96 mining jurisdictions on composite mineral and policy potential. 

It is amply evident that India’s Mining sector needs all the help it can get to reach its rightful place. Moreover, the country’s large population and hence its high consumption loads make it one of the biggest markets for mined minerals. So partnerships with other mining countries will be beneficial for both India as well as the country it partners with. In the following series of blogs titled ‘It’s Time to Tighten Ties’ we will look at partnerships that our Mining industry could forge with their counterparts in resource rich countries to boost both production as well as research.

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