Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Demand grows for Aussie mining expertise in India
Over 50 Australian companies will showcase their mining expertise at India’s largest mining industry event – the International Mining and Machinery Exhibition (IMME 2008) – opening in Kolkata this week (5 to 8 November).
Speaking ahead of the event, Austrade’s New Delhi-based Senior Trade Commissioner, Peter Linford said India’s appetite for energy would continue to drive change in the sub-continent’s mining sector and create new opportunities for Australian businesses despite the global economic downturn.
“India is not affected as much by the global financial crisis as other markets including China. It's a much more domestically driven economy, relying less on exports as a percentage of the GDP. According to the IMF, India’s exports (as a percentage of GDP) were 21.2 per cent, nearly half that of China’s at 40.7 per cent,” he said.
Mr Linford said, “India’s economic growth averaged nine per cent in the past four years and is forecast to be 7.6 per cent this year. To keep pace with this growth, India needs to modernise the mining sector and run more productive mines. This is the driving force behind the take up of Australian mining technology and services.”
“We also expect to see increased investment opportunities for Australian companies in India, and most definitely an increased interest from India in investment into Australian resources reserves and assets,” he said.
Austrade’s Kolkata-based Industry Specialist, Partha Sen said, “India is rapidly moving towards environmentally sustainable options in coal mining, and there is strong interest in all ‘clean coal technology’ from Australia.
“There’s growing acceptance among the Indian industry that it's not only environmentally unsustainable to burn coal with an ash content of around 30 to 45 per cent, but that it’s also not economical to transport unwashed coal over large distances. So coal washeries are becoming a major area of opportunity for Australia.
“Australian mining software, especially mine management systems, is sought after in India. Other areas for growth are equipment and services for underground mining.
“India is increasingly moving towards large, modern underground mines as surface coal and minerals are exhausted. Just in the last 12 months, Australian companies Thiess Leighton India and India Resources have won significant contracts to provide contract mining services,” he said.
Commenting on the impact of the credit crunch and the exchange rate on Australian resources exports, Austrade’s Chief Economist, Tim Harcourt said Australia’s export profile in emerging markets like India would minimise the adverse impact of the credit crunch in Australia.
“According to recent the DHL survey of Australian export businesses, our exporters regarded India as the No 2 destination for commodities after China even in the early days of the global credit crunch. Much of the investment in mining infrastructure is “locked in” and unlikely to be affected.
“The low exchange rate together with Australian capability will enhance our international competitiveness,” he said.
Besides attending IMME 2008, the delegation of Australian mining technology, equipment and services providers will visit two open cut mines in the state of West Bengal. They will also participate in an Austrade-organised seminar on partnerships in technology and investment to be attended by Indian industry leaders, including the world’s largest coal producer, Coal India, and senior government officials.
Australian Government Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, will deliver the opening address at IMME 2008 and the Austrade seminar to be held on Wednesday, 5 November.