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Construction : Interaction | December 2016 | Source : Equipment India

Government should fast-track the procurement

Anuj Keolia, Vice President, SBU - Coal India Business, Gmmco Ltd.

Gmmco offers the complete range of Caterpillar surface and underground mining machines which are proven for their performance and productivity. Anuj Keolia, Vice President, SBU - Coal India Business, Gmmco Ltd, elaborates on the current scenario of Indian mining industry...

How do you look at the rapidly changing mining industry landscape in India? After a lull in the past three years, mining, especially coal, is set to show significant growth in the next few years. Coal India (CIL) is doing its best to increase coal production quickly, from the current 568 million tonne per annum (mtpa) to 927 mtpa by 2020. We expect CIL to issue several tenders for mining equipment in the near future and process them fast. Around a dozen coal blocks allotted to corporates and companies are at advanced stages of environment clearance and are set to kick off in 2016-17. This will open up a fairly large opportunity for mining equipment.

Which are the mining sectors that drive the demand for mining equipment in India? Could you provide a case to case comparison of equipment demand from various mining segments?
On the mineral front, iron ore mining in Karnataka has just commenced and Goa mining may also commence by mid-2017. With GDP set to rebound, the steel industry is also set to come out of the slowdown and reflect an increase in demand for iron ore. We should see some mining equipment procurement in this sector, too. With the depreciated rupee, granite exports are growing and the purchase of machines has also increased.

Have the government´s latest policy initiatives really helped the mining industry and mining equipment companies in a significant way?
The urgency to boost coal production to meet demand from power utilities has come to the forefront. There are definite positive signs from the government by way of arranging fuel linkages from CIL, auctioning the mines by bidding. The need to minimise coal imports to reduce the fiscal deficit has been voiced and is expected to accelerate government efforts in removing the roadblocks in the coal and iron ore mining sector.

How the mining contractors are looking at acquiring new equipment in the wake of the emerging revival in the mining sector? What is your experience so far?
Due to increased focus by Caterpillar in the India business, Gmmco is able to meet the demand fully for surface and underground mining equipment. Good forecasting methods and processes are used by Gmmco-Cat to bridge any demand-supply gap.

Is India currently predominant in surface mining? If yes, then could you please let us know the value proportion offered by you?
Gmmco, well supported by Caterpillar, is the one-stop shop for mining equipment and solutions, be above or below ground. We offer a complete range of Cat surface and underground mining machines which are proven for their performance and productivity. Gmmco with more than 50 years of engagement with the Indian mining sector and with 30 years of partnership with Cat, works with mining customers and is their partner in productivity by identifying and supplying a correct fleet of equipment and rendering tailor-made product support solutions such as onsite placement of service experts, operator training, medium term maintenance and repair contract, extended life programmes, and major aggregate overhauls at our state-of-the-art component repair centre in Nagpur.

What are the opportunities for underground mining? What are the major equipment that OEMs are offering for India? What type of total solutions being preferred by customers?
There is very good potential for underground (UG) mining, especially in coal, as this minimises the environment issues. In the last five years, high capacity room and pillar systems as well as long wall systems, have demonstrated their capability in India, due to which CIL has earmarked several mines for design and development by the UG method in the next five years. Several coal blocks allotted to the private sector also have been earmarked for development by UG.

Caterpillar acquired Bucyrus in 2011. Since then, Gmmco has been involved in the Cat UG business in India which helped us familiarise with that segment of the business. As everybody is aware, Gmmco formally acquired the dealership in our territory for the Bucyrus products which includes high capacity hydraulic mining shovels, electric rope shovels, walking draglines, blast hole drills, high wall miner, room and pillar equipment and longwall equipment.

Caterpillar has a team of experienced UG professionals and with their support, Gmmco has started offering Cat UG equipment to Indian customers, with a dedicated and efficient product support team.

Gmmco will leverage its existing expertise on product support of surface equipment and enable customers to improve their production.

Due to increased focus by Caterpillar in the India business, Gmmco is able to meet the demand fully for surface and underground mining equipment. Good forecasting methods and processes are used by Gmmco-Cat to bridge any demand-supply gap.

AREAS TO BE ADDRESSED ON WAR FOOTING

  • Layout of a clear roadmap for environment clearance so private companies and corporate will continue to invest in India instead of overseas.
  • Speedy forest clearance to several new CIL mines.
  • Government should cite economic emergency and support CIL and private coal block owners in fast- tracking the land acquisition process.
  • Offering concessional custom duty for mining equipment imported for coal mines, to facilitate deployment of state-of-the-art higher capacity mining equipment which will lower production costs of coal.
  • Investment in new lines, additional rolling stock, etc to be made quickly by the Indian Railways to substantially improve evacuation of coal from the mines area.
  • Very long tender processing time by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and also impractical commercial terms in tenders.
  • Low cost Indian and overseas suppliers of mining equipment with questionable track record of performance and capability.
  • SOE´s reluctance to offer remunerative prices to mining contractors which will enable them to deploy safer and more productive higher medium capacity mining equipment, instead of the current practice of deploying a huge fleet of smaller equipment in open cast mines, which poses several safety and environment issues Shortage of skilled manpower.
 
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