Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/18/2013 -- India hosts a wide range of globally significant mineral resources, ranking among the world's top five nations for its core competency commodity reserves of coal and iron ore. Iron ore reserves are estimated in the region of 23bnt (billion tonnes) and account for 6% of global reserves, while coal reserves are reported to be around 255bnt. India is the world's third largest producer of coal, fourth largest producer of iron ore and the fifth largest producer of bauxite. However, only 10% of the country's landmass has been explored, due primarily to significant regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles.
We expect India's mining industry value to reach US$57.2bn by 2017, marking an annual average growth rate of 4.8% from 2011 levels. Growth will continue to be curtailed by India's poor operating environment. A bright spot, however, is the increasing number of Indian companies venturing overseas to secure stable, long-term supplies of minerals such as coal and iron ore in a bid to meet fast-rising domestic demand.
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Despite the potential passage of the 2011 Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill on the horizon, which seeks to improve transparency and introduce better legislative environment for attracting mining investment, we remain wary of calling for a sea change in the country's mining industry. The pervasiveness of corruption, vital regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles in India will continue to prevent mining companies from achieving their full production capacity. In the past, mining permits/licences are issued contingent on success in the reconnaissance phase. This practice exposes firms to high levels of risk. However, the MMDR bill would allow for the granting of non-exclusive reconnaissance licences and high-tech reconnaissance/exploration licences based on ability and intention to develop an area. In addition, mining companies would be required to submit and display all data pertaining to the granting, extension, termination and planning of operations in the public domain.
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