Centre to announce mining reforms initiative soon

We expect commercialisation of mines to bring competitiveness and a level-playing field between PSUs and private players.

The Centre will announce reforms initiative for the mining sector in next 6-8 weeks, coal secretary Anil Kumar Jain said on Friday. As the government has opened up commercial mining to private players and unlocked 500 non-coal mineral blocks, new mining reforms will get adopted in the statute book in next 6-8 weeks.

“We expect commercialisation of mines to bring competitiveness and a level-playing field between PSUs and private players. Our aim is to encourage industry players to adopt sustainable technology solutions, including green mining, coal ash ponds and other newer technology vehicles, that can further accelerate the productivity with the economy of scale and also better environmental performance,” Jain said at a Ficci meeting.

As India is looking for new-age technologies for increased productivity to be self sufficient in domestic energy requirement reducing coal imports as well as environmental impact, it also aims to strive towards becoming a coal export hub. India, at present, imports coal from Australia, Indonesia and South Africa but commercialisation of coal blocks can keep coal imports at a minimum level.

Commercialisation of mines, while attracting more investment from private players, will also help ugradation of infrastructure near the mining vicinity, thereby retaining the skill set in states. In the next 5 to 6 years, the mining sector is said to increase direct employment by 7 lakh and indirect employment by over 20 lakh, creating a major boost for the country’s economy, Jain said.

Thyssenkrupp India managing director and CEO Vivek Bhatia said there are technologies available through which blasting in mines can be avoided to minimise environmental impact. There are technology solutions providing a continuous mining system working round the clock along with conveyor systems without any intermediate handling, improving operational safety and reducing operational cost.

The industry, evolving over the last two decades, has been hampered by a number of factors, including the persistence of conventional technologies and business models. The major costs in the present system of mining in India largely consist of drilling, blasting, fuel and consumables. Cost of drilling and blasting can be avoided and operating expenses can be significantly reduced by employing electrically operated continuous systems, Bhatia said.

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