India and Australia – Partnership Potential in Mining
When we look at countries that have a high potential for collaboration with the Indian mining industry, the first one that vies for attention is the stalwart in the south – Australia. Australia is undoubtedly a global leader in the minerals industry. Its abundant mineral reserves, skilled professionals and cutting edge technology have put together a robust mining industry that contributes to more than 8 % of the country’s GDP and 60 % of
India and Australia share a geological history that goes back to 180 million years when they were both part of the Gondwana land. So like Australia, the Indian subcontinent too, has a rich deposit of minerals but unlike Australia, India has not
Let us explore this further by asking and answering questions that serve to uncover the full extent of this promising potential.
Where in the Mining process does India need help?
And the simple answer is ‘everywhere’. India is limping behind other mining countries in all stages of mining – geoscience, exploration, development, production and reclamation.
Geoscience- The lack of high precision equipment and consequent lack of geophysical and geochemical data has been slowing down the generation of baseline data for exploration. While in Australia aeromagnetic surveys have covered 90 % of the total area of the country. India so far has managed to cover only 18% till date.
Exploration – India’s exploration expenditure is so pathetically insignificant ( 2 % of global exploration expenditure)when compared to other resources rich countries like Canada (14 %) and Australia (13 %). Exploration in India is done only to a depth of 50 to 100 m while in Australia it is 300 m.
Development – Nationalisation of the exploration regime in India has made obtaining mining leases and licenses more difficult. The delays in issuing licenses and providing environmental and forest-clearance processes are major setbacks that hamper growth. In India obtaining permits can mean an incredibly long wait of even 5 years while in Canada or Australia it may mean hardly 2 months
Production – India’s mining sector has both
Reclamation – Closure and reclamation of mine is another problem area for India. The cost of rehabilitating old mines are too high even for mining companies in the developed world and more so for the Indian counterparts. Inadequate monitoring and lenient regulations make it harder still to effect proper closure and reclamation
What are the strengths of the Australian Mining Industry?
How can a tie with Australia help us?
- Australian mining equipment and technology suppliers can make products and technologies that are uniquely suited to the Indian mining sector across different functions in the mining value chain. Data analysis, Geographical information systems, advanced extraction technologies, advanced processing technology, geological robotics, nanotechnology are some of the areas where the superior knowledge of the Australian players can be utilised.
- For improving the attractiveness of the Indian mining industry to global investors it is imperative that GSI completes all the geophysical, geochemical, aero-geophysical and marine surveys and publishes the data in the public domain. Initiatives have already been taken in this area with the GSI partnering with Geoscience Australia to develop for India something akin to Australia’s UNCOVER project that involves
characterisingIndia’s geological cover, investigating India’s lithospheric architecture, resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution, and detecting and characterisingthe distal footprints of ore deposits.
- Rare earth minerals and other critical minerals used in modern technology like mobile phones, electric cars, computers, flat screen monitors
defenceand space technology have become critical to modern-day existence. The growing demand for these minerals creates significant economic opportunities for Australia and India to collaborate.
- Australia has a single window clearance system that reduces the time needed to obtain for approvals. India can develop a similar system to streamline processes in getting environmental and forest clearances. Commendably, the Indian Government has recently taken initiatives like TAMRA (Transparency, Auction Monitoring
andResource Augmentation), the Post Auction Mining and Approvals Facilitator (PAMCAF) and PARIVESH (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub)
- Another vital area where an Indian – Australian collaboration can make a huge difference is in the area of training and skilling the mining labor force. In this regard, the two countries have already taken a stride ahead with the establishment of the Australia -India mining partnership at the Indian School of Mines. India can certainly benefit from Australia’s world-class technical expertise
- Fatal accidents during mining operations in India is quite high with 377 workers killed between 2015 and 2017. In contrast, Australia has the lowest mining accident rates in the world. The Queensland and Indian governments recently signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) for developing mine safety management plans for
With the growing demand for metals and minerals in a rapidly