Comprehensive approach needed for mining industry, says Sai

Bhubaneswar: The Centre today favoured a comprehensive approach to sustain growth of mining industry, a core area of the economy, so that the potential benefits of the sector are realised.

Union Minister of State for Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai said a vibrant mining industry is the bedrock of any industrial nation, particularly when it is endowed with huge mineral potential as in India.

However, mining in India is beset with uneconomical scale, limited mechanisation and automation. While the country has come a long way in terms of technology upgradation, there is still need for improvement.

This is apparent in terms of the average size of mines in India, safety standards and overall viability of mines, he said inaugurating an industry body conference on Mining in Odisha here.

The number of mines which reported mineral production, excluding minor minerals, petroleum (crude), natural gas and atomic minerals, in India was 3,318 in FY2015 as against 3,722 in the previous financial year, Sai said.

Of the 3,318 reporting mines, 173 mines were located in Odisha, an Assocham release said.

The average size of the mines in Odisha is small as in the other states. While it is understood that this assessment is dependent on the mineral and the underlying geology, the fact cannot be done away with that India needs to take decisive steps towards modernisation of its mining industry, he said.

Speaking at the meet, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Malik said the state is the first in the country to issue rules for District Mineral Foundation (DMF) a body created to bring far reaching changes in India s mining regulations, MMDR Act.

The new rules, however, raised some concerns as they have failed to define any role for the mining companies who are among the major stakeholders and will be significantly impacted by the operations of the new regulations, he said.

While decline in mineral production has been the general trend in the country, faster decline in the state warranted a closer look at the state specific issues affecting mineral production in the country, he added.