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Demand for Surface Mining in India

What is the present market demand for surface mining in India?

The future of the mining equipment market in India looks good with opportunities in underground mining and surface mining. The major drivers for the growth of this market are growth in mining activity, increasing demand of metal and mineral commodities, and rapid urbanization.

Conventional mining methods like drill & blast, ripper etc. have its own limitations in terms of production and usage close to urban neighborhood. A vast volume of beneficial ore cannot be mined due to blasting restrictions because of vicinity to inhabitants.  An increase in mining-related activities in many states of India and rise in demand for alternate mining equipment for application such as metal mining, coal mining, and mineral mining, fuels the growth of the surface mining equipment market.

Which equipment and technologies are primarily deployed to accelerate mining projects?

Emerging trends which have a direct impact on the dynamics of the mining equipment industry are underground automation systems for efficient mining, automatic power crushers for crushing and compacting operations, multi-functional excavators for construction and demining functions, use of hybrid electric motors for cost effective operations, and rail-conveyor technology for bulk material hauling solutions.

What are procurement challenges dealt with in this sector, especially in the aftermath of fluctuating metal processes and increasing environmental concerns?

Although adapting new technologies calls for perseverance for realization of long-term benefits, the mining companies, however, are more concerned with short-term costs than long-term benefits. Moreover, growing uncertainties in the volatile mining market and commodity prices of several minerals, with majority showing downward trend, has strained the margins of mining companies.

In addition to these issues, the dearth of soft financing from financial institutions and banks have crippled investments in mining equipment and technologies.

How is the mining industry ensuring global standards in Indian mining operations?

There are many technologies that are being adopted in small ways by large-scale individual operators as they find themselves benefiting. With regards to active mining processes, underground mining (longwall mining in case of coal extraction) and resource-efficient surface drilling technologies (usage of large equipment like dumpers and excavators for improving loading and haulage, hydraulic mining by replacing handheld drills with hydraulic and jumbo drills, etc.) are increasingly being adopted by large-mining operations apart from the traditional opencast mining techniques.

To achieve resource efficiency, the Indian mining sector is already looking forward to adopting advanced mine surveying and exploration technologies (using geophysics applications using 2D and 3D seismic surveys) along with the usage of software solutions by utilizing 3D software packages (like Micromine, Gemcom Minex, Surpac, CAE Mining Datamin and Vulcan) in the mine planning and design stage.

Considering the growing levels of innovations worldwide, more advanced technologies like Acid Mist Suppressants, Dust Control Systems, Electrostatic Precipitators, Scrubbers, Process Ventilation Systems and Pollution Control Systems are now available for deployment to efficiently control the alarming rise of pollutants in the environment. However, such new advanced technologies are increasingly being adopted by major mining companies, but mass-scale adoption is still a long way to go for the India mining sector. Moreover, it is mostly the private sector entities that have progressed more in this direction as compared to the public entities.

How do you look at the investments needed for the feasibility and accessibility of surface mining in Indian geological situations?

India has initiated several progressive policy measures, putting itself in a good starting position to undertake the transformation of the mining sector. Unlocking the potential of the mining sector in India could add around USD210 billion to USD 250 billion (Rs 945 to 1,125 thousand crore) or 6 to 7 per cent to the GDP and create 13 to 15 million jobs through direct and indirect contribution by 2030.

Having said that, there is still a huge gap between the capital expenditures undertaken and potential capex needed to attain the potential, mining sector has to offer. Incentivizing the mining companies by offering special financing terms or reduced rate of interest can probably boost them to invest in advance technologies which in turn will boost the entire mining productivity.

To achieve this, action is required on six key priorities, including enhancing resource and reserve base through exploration and international acquisition; reducing permit delays; putting in place core enablers (infrastructure, human capital, technology); ensuring sustainable mining and sustainable development around mining; creating an information, education, and communication strategy; and undertaking measures to ensure implementation.

How do you ensure project site robustness, onsite safety, and fuel efficiency and reduce the additional expenses for mining activities?

Vermeer Terrain Leveler® surface excavation machine (SEM), provides surface miners with a safe and cost-efficient alternative to drilling and blasting. This process helps eliminate dangerous flying debris, minimizing a major safety concern for miners when they use explosives. Also, there is much less vibration and dust produced by these machines, which is beneficial for workers and the surrounding community.

Another attribute of precision mining machinery that is helping with mining safety is how much more efficient the process is. There are fewer steps involved with precision mining, and most operations can significantly reduce the number of times material needs to be handled.

A pressurized cab limits the operator’s exposure to dust particles and helps to filter out noise. The machine has “Roll Over Protection System” to enhance safety of the operator. With “Operator Presence Sensor” activated, the machine automatically shuts down all operation, in case the operator gets off his seat, to ensure safety of people working around the machine and the operator himself.

Vermeer surface miners has specialized hydrostatic system, instead of a conventional gear system, which eliminates the need for having a bigger Horsepower engine, thereby reducing the overall cost of operation and maintenance. It is also more fuel-efficient by consuming lesser fuel than most of its counterpart.

The “On-board Vacuum Dust Control” system, eliminates the need for having additional equipment like water-tankers, water sprinkling system at mines. This not only eliminates the need for additional equipment, thereby reducing the capex but also reduce the dust hazards at the site to a tune of over 95%.

Using Vermeer precision mining methods, today’s miners are actively taking steps to make mines safer, more sustainable, and better neighbors to nearby communities.

The future of mining is precision.