India enters a deciding decade

By Alex Feytis
Published: Tuesday, 27 July 2010

After designing a symbol for the rupee, India has joined the ranks of only a handful of countries with a currency icon. This is in preparation for the ten years in which, the country believes, it will become an economic superpower. The mining industry, including refractory and white minerals, is central to this plan

"I have the impression that India has never been affected by the crisis,” head of Indian giant Tata Group Ratan Tata said in an interview to French news magazine L’Express this year.

Contrary to most, India has witnessed robust growth during the last few years with its GDP projected to increase to 8.75% in 2010, a figure which is the envy of developed countries.

In comparison, world growth is expected to be 4.1% in 2010 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the USA would reach 3% and the Euro zone would struggle at just 0.8%.

Only China is supposed to grow faster with a GDP projected at 10% for 2010.

During the last decade, India has slowly but steadily approached the circle of the world’s leading economies. Without breaking into it, it has still become Asia’s third largest economy.

India, a domestically-orientated economy, had a “good crisis” according to London’s Financial Times as only 15% of India’s GDP depends on exports, contrary to export-orientated countries such as the USA or Japan which flirt with 50%.

But India is looking to move a step further and is trying to open the country to world investment, and training an emerging educated middle-class into international business.

Indicative of the changes happening, Tata Group recently bought UK’s Jaguar and Land Rover, the iPhone4 is about to be launched in the country, and the Indian rupee joined only a handful of currencies Ð US dollar, British pound, euro and Japanese yen Ð when it adopted its very own symbol on 15 July.

The Indian mining industry, directly impacted by macro-economic factors, did not really feel the economic downturn to a large extent.

The country owns huge mineral resources (see India at a glance) and produces 86 minerals from 3,000 mines, including 1,694 mines for non-metallic minerals.

Mining is big in India but could be much bigger. With the industry valued at $25bn., around 12% of which is non-metallic minerals, the sector makes a significant contribution. And foreign investors are beginning to take note as the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) grew from $6m. in 2005-06 to $461m. in 2006-07.


Total refractories market (projected)

2010 2012
Production (m. tonnes) Value ($) Production (m. tonnes) Value ($)
World 30.2 25bn. 38.1 32bn.
India 1.5 1bn. 2.2 1,530bn.
Source: World Steel, World Refractories Journal, Tata Refractories Ltd


Number of mines in India

Sector 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
All minerals* 3,005 2,854 2,954
Coal (including lignite) 570 569 569
Metallic minerals 639 676 691
Non-metallic minerals 1,796 1,609 1,694
* Excluding atomic minerals, petroleum (crude), natural gas (utilised) and minor minerals
Source: Indian Ministry of Mines, Report 2008-09


New mining law by end-2010

As a consequence, India’s Ministry of Mines now has every intention to help boost its mineral industry by increasing private investment within the next few years. The plan is to push through new legislation by the end of 2010 to open up the resource-rich country and attract foreign investors (IM 15 March 2010: India plans minerals boost).

The proposed mining regulations are expected to simplify the licensing process and allow it to be managed by the federal governments (states) instead of the Union government.

At present, applying for a mining licence can take up to three years so the idea is now to make sure that “the procedures are made more investor-friendly, streamlined, transparent, and that everything takes place on a fast track,” Ministry’s joint secretary Ajita Bajpai Pande told IM. Ideally, the government hopes to reduce this time to six months for exploration and three months for mining.

The Ministry also plans to focus on exploration to properly evaluate India’s huge mineral resources (see Challenges). Pande believes that Indian industrial growth will occur at around 10% a year, adding that “mining has to occupy centre stage in order for the manufacturing sector to grow at pace”. By focusing on its mineral resources, the government hopes to significantly develop its economy.

However, the process to implement new laws takes time, above all in India where bureaucracy has been its downfall. For example, the Indian cabinet approved the new mining policy in March 2008, but the parliament still has to enforce it. “This act has generated a lot of interest and discussion... [as we are also] concerned about environmental, socioeconomic, women and child issues,” explained Pande.

“There is nothing negative about it but a democratic procedure takes time. To amend a new law is a huge exercise and it has to go through the procedure. So we are hoping to do it as fast as possible,” Pande declared. She has also revealed that the law would hopefully be enforced by the end of 2010, probably around October.


India’s main minerals production (2007-08)

Minerals Production*  (tonnes) Number of mining leases Number of reporting mines Main producing states
Apatite 6,691 1 2 Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal
Ball clay 641,000 45 33 Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh
Clay (others) 802,621 46 13 Gujarat
Bauxite 23.m. 303 209 Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa
Barytes 1.07m. 124 8 Andhra Pradesh
Calcite 81,548 67 4 Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan
Chromite 4.8m. 30 21 Orissa, Karnataka
Dolomite 5.1m. 437 103 Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
Dunite 29,169 1 1 Karnataka
Feldspar 410,926 329 25 Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh
Fireclay 461,140 236 61 Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
Fluorspar 3,502 17 2 Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra
Graphite 116,007 118 28 Orissa, Jharkhand
Gypsum 2.6m. 55 23 Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu
Kaolin 1.3m. 424 87 Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana
Kyanite 4,804 32 5 Maharashtra, Jharkhand
Limestone 188,125 1,537 539 Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
Magnesite 247,527 32 9 Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand
Mica (crude) 1.2m. (272 32 Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand
Phosphate 1.9m. 4 Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh
Quartz 264,664 1,026 21 Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Karnataka
Quartzite 84,312 58 14 Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh
Salt (rock) 1,197 3 1 Himachal Pradesh
Silica sands 3.9m. 412 117 Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Silimanite 42,566 4 4 Kerala, Andhra Pradesh
Vermiculite 10,801 10 4 Andhra Pradesh
Wollastonite 118,666 4 2 Rajasthan
Source: Indian Ministry of Mines, Annual report 2008-09


Refractories

While most of the world’s refractories industry suffered under the global downturn, India remained relatively resilient and its steel market the greatest consumer of refractories is expected to grow by 12.1% in 2010.

Steel is the most important end market for the Indian refractories sector as it drives about 75% of the industry. The world’s fifth largest steel producer in 2008, India ranked fourth between January and October 2009, with a capacity of 65m. tonnes. It is now likely to become the second largest crude steel producer globally by 2015.

“Most of our revenue (about 76%) comes from iron and steel sectors and this sector in India is rapidly growing. We will grow even faster than the market,” Amitava Chaudhury, Tata Refractories’ vice-president marketing, told IM.

By the end of the year, it is expected that India will produce 100m. tonnes of crude steel. According to the Indian Steel Ministry, the country’s steel capacity might grow to 124m. tonnes by 2011-2012 and is expected to double within the next decade, reaching 200m. tonnes by 2020.

India, with China, was among the emerging economies which started to improve in Q4 2009. “When you talk to people in the industry in India, they ask you: Crisis? What crisis?” said a foreign refractories producer established in the country, adding:“There is no crisis in India!”

Over 80% of new refractory demand in 2012 is expected to be attributable to China; Asia continuing to be the fastest growth region in the world within the next two years. But while China will account for much of the region’s gains, India is expected to show advances above the world average.

India’s refractories output increased by about 67% from 780,000 tonnes in 2002-2003 to 1.30m. tonnes in 2007-2008. A production of 1.5m. is projected for 2010. The sales turnover in 2007-2008 increased by about 21% over 2006-2007. The total market size in India for 2010 is about 1.5m. tonnes with an estimated value of Rs 46bn. ($1bn.).

This impressive growth, attributed to a boost in demand from major consumer industries such as steel, cement, aluminium and sponge iron, is expected to continue. The country is now host to international big refractories players such as Austrian leader RHI AG, Belgium’s Vesuvius, Imerys-owned Calderys and French calcium aluminate cement group Kerneos Inc. which started operations in India in 2008 (IM 11 June 2008: Kerneos India warns of refractory hurdles).

Vesuvius plans to double its Indian plant capacity through the commissioning of its Kolkata expansion project in December. The subsidiary of Cookson Plc conceived the expansion plan in 2004, but the project has been delayed. According to Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), Vesuvius is investing $10.7m. in the expansion.

Tata Refractories Ltd, India’s largest refractories producer, also agrees with the trend. “The global economic catastrophe did not affect the Indian economy to a large extent. The economic crisis and its impact on Indian refractories markets was sustained over a period of about six months, between September 2008 and March 2009. The Indian refractories market was only affected during Q3-Q4,” Amitava Chaudhury told IM. “We are not adversely affected by the global economic slowdown. We even increased our sales during that time,” he added.

Tata’s refractories actually grew by 25% in 2009, while worldwide refractories manufacturers such as RHI were still struggling. The company’s consolidated revenue increased to Rs 7.64bn. ($168m.) from Rs 6.13bn. ($135m.) during that time.

As a consequence, Tata Refractories is planning to more than double its annual turnover by the fiscal year 2012-13 due to significant growth in exports.

Managing director A.K. Chattopadhyay told the Economic Times that the company is targeting sales of Rs20bn.($228m.) Ð up from the Rs9.5bn. reported for 2008-09 Ð with exports likely to contribute 25%, up from the current 14%.

Chattopadhyay said a chunk of the Tata Refractories’ export revenue would come from steelmaker Corus, with Rs700m. ($14.9m.) expected this financial year, claiming that European refractory makers could not compete on price.

Tata Refractories is 71.2% owned by Tata Steel Ltd. The parent group announced in May this year that it plans to sell half its interest to bring in technical expertise and offer access to new refractory markets (IM 28 June 2010: Tata Refractories stake for sale).

Refractory raw materials

India is a resource-rich country, notably for refractories minerals. According to the ministry of mines, India is 100%-self-sufficient for bauxite, chromite, dolomite, fireclay and magnesite. It is also 64%-sufficient in kyanite as the country needs about 14,000 tpa and produces just 9,000 tpa.

“The increasing internationalisation of the refractories business could take an interesting turn in the coming years as India emerges the most important market only next to China,” commented AK Chattopadway.

Graphite: “A huge potential”

India is the world’s second largest graphite producer after China with a production of 140,000 tonnes in 2009 representing about 12.4% of the world output (IM July 2010: The bright side of graphite).

The country has estimated resources at 152m. tonnes and about 78% of the total production accrued from just five mines. The state of Tamil Nadu is the leading contributor with about 49% of total output, followed by Orissa (42%) and Jharkhand (9%). Out of total resources, just 1m. tonnes is refractory/foundry grade.

In 2006, India consumed an average of 13,300 tonnes graphite. Since 2003, the amount of graphite used for refractories has increased from 4,500 tonnes to 6,100 tonnes (46% of total consumption) in 2007 and the country had to import 9,927 tonnes the same year to meet demand.

Agrawal Graphite Industries, India’s second leading graphite producer, plans to double production by 2013 and to expand its portfolio into the battery market two years later.

“There is a huge potential in India,” Prabhas Agrawal, managing partner of Agrawal, told IM. The company is expecting Chinese exports to go down, as it imposes stricter controls on minerals for internal consumption. Agrawal Graphite, which produces about 500 tpm graphite, is increasing production by 10-15% increase of production by November 2010. It also plans to acquire two or three more graphite deposits near its existing operations in the state of Orissa, eastern India.

“The plan is to double our production by 2013 and for that to happen we need resources,” explained Agrawal.

In addition, the company intends to enter the sector for lithium ion (Li-ion) graphite for batteries and is in the process of a joint-venture with a Japanese company.

“Ideally, we target a production of 200m. tpa by 2014 or 2015,” the company said.

The company owns five mines - Temrimal, Dudkamal, Beharamunda, Deharmunda and Gandabhali - which are located in a radius of 60km from the main plant located near the village of Checherbeng in Belpara district, Orissa. The plant has a capacity of 10,000 tpa of processed graphite.

Agrawal Graphite also owns a second subsidiary plant near the village of Menkamunda in Bolangir district with a capacity of 1,000 tpa in addition to a semi-processed plant located at Temrimal mine and a semi-processed plant near the village Mundapala near the Gandabhali mine.

Graphite electrode manufacturers are also on the way to development thanks to Indian steel promises. HEG Ltd, India’s leading graphite electrode manufacturer, has told IM that it will boost production from its present 66,000 tpa to 80,000 tpa in Q1 2012.

“Demand is going to increase in this part of the world,” R.C. Surana, HEG’s executive director and chief executive officer, explained, adding that $50m. would be invested in the project (IM 9 February 2010: HEG to boost graphite production).

The operation would establish HEG in the leading park of graphite electrode producers along with USA-based world leading producer GrafTech International Ltd and Germany-based SGL GroupÊÐ both said to have a production of about 200,000 tpa Ð and Japan’s Showa Denko KK (SDK).

Magnesite

India has about 338m. tonnes of magnesite reserves, 68% of those being located in the state of Uttarakhand. Production of magnesite in 2006-07 was 242,000 tonnes in 11 reporting mines. Five principal producers accounted for 89% of global production. Tamil Nadu Magnesite Ltd (Tanmag) is one of India’s largest magnesite producers with a crude output of up to 100,000 tpa from the Salem region of Tamil Nadu, followed by Dalmia Magnesite Corp. Ltd and India Magnesia Products Ltd. Tamil Nadu is the major producing state with about 73% of global production.

Growing concerns in the world about magnesia supply for the refractories industry, has led the country has decided to exploit its natural resources in order to meet the expected increased demand.

Among the new projects, Indian mining company National Mineral Development Company (NMDC) Ltd has revealed to IM that it intends to set up a 100 tpd dead burned magnesia (DBM) plant in the Jammu and Kashmir region, India (20 May 2010: New Indian DBM plant by 2012).

NMDC has a 74% stake in joint-venture with JKMDC for a magnesite mine near the village of Panthal, Jammu, and plans to set up 36,500 tpa DBM at Panthal, in the north of the country. The deposit feeding the plant has reserves of 4.05m. tonnes magnesite.

“We expect to start production in 2012,” the company told IM. The magnesite from this deposit will be used to produce DBM for the domestic refractory market.


India’s main minerals production*




Bauxite

India ranks seventh in terms of bauxite reserves after Australia, Brazil, China, Greece, Guinea and Guyana. According to the Indian Ministry of Mines, the country is completely self-sufficient in the material with total resources estimated at 3.4bn. tonnes in the 841 known deposits in the country. About 70m. tonnes of this bauxite is refractory grade. Orissa is the most bauxite-rich state owning 55% of India’s bauxite reserves.

The country, which produced 23m. tonnes in 2007-08, has many upcoming projects. National Aluminium Co. Ltd (NALCO) is working on a joint-venture project to expand its existing speciality alumina operations from its present 26,400 tpa to 100,000 tpa for the overseas market.

The company owns a fully mechanised opencast mine of 4.8m. tpa capacity in Orissa. Capacity is at present being expanded to 6.3m. tpa.

NALCO also has a 1.5m. tpa alumina refinery in Koraput district. Capacity is being expanded to 2.1m. tpa.

Other refractory minerals

According to the Indian Ministry of mines, production of dolomite decreased 1% in 2007-08 to 5.1m. tonnes compared to the year before. About 55% of Indian global dolomite output in 2007-08 was produced by four major companies: Viz, SAIL (21%), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (13%), Bisra Stone Lime Co. (12%) and Tata Steel (9%).

Dolomite is mainly produced in the states of Orissa (32%), Chhattisgarh (23%) and Andhra Pradesh (25%) in the east of the country, the remaining 20% being contributed by six other states: Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

India has 7.5bn. tonnes dolomite reserves, There are 116 reported mines, about 78% being produced by 14 companies.

Total resources of fireclay in the country are estimated at 704m. tonnes. The share of refractory non-plastic/semi-plastic grade is 109m. tonnes (15.5%), refractory plastic-grade, 254m. tonnes (36%), and refractory unclassified grade 109.5m. tonnes (15.5m.). India produces about 444,000 tpa in 64 mines. Rajasthan occupies first position among states with 29% followed by Orissa (16%), and Gujarat (14%). Main producers are Tata Refractories Ltd in Orissa and Sampat Lal Daga in Rajasthan.

India also has 18.4m. tonnes andalusite reserves in the states of Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Abrasives

Indian abrasives producer Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI) has entered into a joint-venture with Gujarat Mineral Development Corp. Ltd (GMDC), Gujarat’s state-owned mining company, to develop a composite brown fused alumina plant in Kutch, Gujarat.

Production at the plant, based in the Naketrana area of Kutch, will initially be 35,000 tpa brown fused alumina (BFA), CUMI’s managing director K Srinivasan told IM.

“GMDC brings to this j-v the abrasive grade bauxite mines and availability,” Srinivasan explained. “CUMI brings the technology to manufacture a full range of BFA products, operational expertise and marketing.”

BFA is primarily sold into the abrasives and refractories markets and is manufactured from calcined, abrasive grade bauxite ubiquitous for India.

Srinivasan confirmed that the final details of the project such as exact location, energy sources and shareholding were still being determined, but that CUMI planned to complete the plant within 18 months after receiving final clearances.

It is thought that development will begin this year and could include the construction of a coal-fired electricity plant to power the operation.

India’s plastics growth

With reported growth rates of 10-12%, India’s plastics market represents considerable opportunities for filler minerals, including wollastonite (IM August ’09, p.22: Indian plastics to rise 10-12%).

The Indian economy appears to be already emerging from the downturn, which has had a positive effect on certain industries reliant on plastics as major components, such as the automotive and wire and cable sectors.

India’s economic growth slowed to 6.7% last year after three straight years of expansion of at least 9%, but is on track to grow 7% this fiscal year. Automotive sales, manufacturing, and cement production have seen recent improvement.

Wollastonite: “Demand is booming”

India ranks second after China and before the USA, producing almost 20% of the world’s wollastonite. But production is limited to Wolkem India Ltd and Galaxy Corp. (IM November 2009: Wollastonite’s pins and needles).

Wolkem Ltd, the world leading producer, has a capacity of over 160,000 tpa wollastonite from the Sirohi district of Rajasthan, India’s north-west province. Galaxy Corp. produces 6-10,000 tpa from the same deposit but a different mine to Wolkem supplying the domestic ceramics industry.

As in China, large scale development of the country’s wollastonite did not occur until the 1980s, when India started to produce about 10,000 tpa. One of the main reasons behind this was the challenges associated with Wolkem’s two operations, the Belka Pahar and Kheratala mines, located in a hilly and forested area in the Siroshi district of Rajasthan.

India then started to steadily increase production from 35,000 tonnes in 1990 to 160,000 tonnes in 2008, owing in the main to Wolkem production.

Wolkem supplies grades for the polymers, coatings, building material, ceramics, friction and metallurgical applications. Wolkem supplies the Indian market but mainly exports its wollastonite to Europe, south-east Asia and Asia Pacific.

As with US wollastonite producers, India has been impacted in a similar way by the financial crisis. Interestingly, domestic demand has not reported an actual decline just a slowing of growth, but there was a substantial reduction in demand from overseas customers.

Last year, exports sales were “adversely affected to the polymer, automobile, building material and friction applications” as Gaurang Singhal, Wolkem’s director, explained to IM, “even though domestic sales are growing marginally”.

Wolkem sustained production in 2008/09 and export markets started to pick up this year leading the way to a bright future. “Demand for wollastonite in the domestic market is booming as exports are increasing marginally,” Singhal said, adding that the company intends to therefore increase its mining and minerals processing capacities by about 25%.

“It is time to invest in new product developments and to develop new applications for this mineral,” he declared, explaining that the areas with more potential included polymer markets, (coated and uncoated) with high aspect ratio and extremely fine grades. However, sales related to automobile sectors “will remain subdued” until mid-2010.

Talc

In 2007-08, production of talc grew by 12% over the previous year to 826,000 tonnes. Rajasthan, the principal producing state, accounted for about 70% of the Indian global output during that time. Production in Rajasthan is dominated by five main producers which all together accounted for 64% of the production of talc in 2007-08: Associated Soapstone Distributing Co. Ltd (25%), Udaipur Mineral Development Syndicate Ltd (23%), Parbatia Mines (6%), Nalwaya Mineral Industries Pvt Ltd and Katiyar Mining (5%) and Industrial Corp. (5%).

Golcha Associated Group mines about 300,000 tpa of crude across three mining zones in the South of Rajasthan and produced about 200,000 tpa of talc powder at its plant located near the city of Udaipur.

As Golcha explained to IM, the group has focused on research since inception in order to “meet the current and future requirements of end users market.

According to 20 Microns Ltd, white minerals such as talc are really outperforming compared to many other sectors in India.

“There is still a lot of demand-supply gap in the market and the opportunities have been immense for the players to increase their respective capacities. There have also been a lot of mergers and acquisitions and buyouts in the international markets which provides ample opportunities for the export market as well,”20 Microns’ joint managing director Atil Parikh told IM.

20 Microns, which has observed a “tremendous growth in the past five years”, planned to increase its capacities in the existing minerals in order to meet the domestic and export demands. The company also plans to add a few more new minerals into its portfolio.

Challenges

Although India is undeniably a mineral resource-rich country, it still has a long way to go before being able to take full advantage of this wealth.Costs. Fragmented, disorganised, the energy-intensive Indian mining industry has recently been affected by the continuous increase in power and fuel costs in addition to power shortages in some parts of the country. The main challenges for the refractories producers will be to address the issue of ever increasing raw material and energy costs in the future. Now that the market is starting to show signs of recovery, a slight increase in sea freights from India is also expected compared to 2008-2009 levels.

Fragmented, disorganised, the energy-intensive Indian mining industry has recently been affected by the continuous increase in power and fuel costs in addition to power shortages in some parts of the country. The main challenges for the refractories producers will be to address the issue of ever increasing raw material and energy costs in the future. Now that the market is starting to show signs of recovery, a slight increase in sea freights from India is also expected compared to 2008-2009 levels.

Infrastructure. The lack of infrastructure remains of the main challenges that the country will have to overcome to develop its mining assets. “Transporting raw material across the country can be really challenging, told IM Jean-Christophe Trassard, managing director of Kerneos India. According to some source from the industry, raw material transport in India can cost up to $70/tonne whereas shipping products from Europe would cost $30/tonne and $50/tonne from India. “There is no solution on the short-term,” believes Trassard. As a consequence, mining companies and manufacturers had to find solutions, the main one being to split storage all over the country in order to meet demand at anytime from anywhere in the country.

The lack of infrastructure remains of the main challenges that the country will have to overcome to develop its mining assets. “Transporting raw material across the country can be really challenging, told Jean-Christophe Trassard, managing director of Kerneos India. According to some source from the industry, raw material transport in India can cost up to $70/tonne whereas shipping products from Europe would cost $30/tonne and $50/tonne from India. “There is no solution on the short-term,” believes Trassard. As a consequence, mining companies and manufacturers had to find solutions, the main one being to split storage all over the country in order to meet demand at anytime from anywhere in the country.

Education. Research and development activities are supposed to play a growing role in the future, notably for refractories and India will have to catch up. “Except for the few leading refractory producers, the refractory market has failed to attract talents to live up to the task,” declared Gupta.

Research and development activities are supposed to play a growing role in the future, notably for refractories and India will have to catch up. “Except for the few leading refractory producers, the refractory market has failed to attract talents to live up to the task,” declared Gupta.

Environment. One of the main concerns in India is the environmental issue which is taken very seriously by the Indian government and can sometimes slow down mining projects. For the refractories producers, the main challenges will be to adhere to the increasingly stringent pollution controls. Talc is also a prime example of India’s environmental concerns.

One of the main concerns in India is the environmental issue which is taken very seriously by the Indian government and can sometimes slow down mining projects. For the refractories producers, the main challenges will be to adhere to the increasingly stringent pollution controls. Talc is also a prime example of India’s environmental concerns.

Inflation became a growing political challenge as figures continue to increase, reaching almost 10%. As a consequence, the nation struggles with high fuel and food costs.

became a growing political challenge as figures continue to increase, reaching almost 10%. As a consequence, the nation struggles with high fuel and food costs.

Exploration. India is known to have important mineral resources but a huge exploration work still has to be done before the country can exploit all its mineral assets. “India is an unopened jewel box. The more you explore, the more you find, the more you mine,” said Pande.

India is known to have important mineral resources but a huge exploration work still has to be done before the country can exploit all its mineral assets. “India is an unopened jewel box. The more you explore, the more you find, the more you mine,” said Pande.

Bureaucratic democracy. The heavy bureaucratic democracy is very often seen as a burden which will slow the process of development. “In India, politics prevails over economy or prosperity,” Ratan Tata explained.

The heavy bureaucratic democracy is very often seen as a burden which will slow the process of development. “In India, politics prevails over economy or prosperity,” Ratan Tata explained.

Outlook

In terms of the resources it has and its economic clout, India’s future is bright, thanks to its healthy economy and to its mineral potential. Projected to host the world’s biggest population by 2030 and poised for an economic growth of 8.7% in 2011, the country is on the way to transforming from an emerging power into a super power.

However the pace of this transformation remains unpredictable. For sure, it will be slower than China, mainly because India is slowed by the burden of its slow democratic process while China is advantaged by its dictatorial capitalism.

These factors will affect India’s mining sector as the country undoubtedly owns attractive mineral resources for a world always in search of new sources of raw material. As the world’s fifth largest steel producer in 2008, India is now likely to become the second largest crude steel producer globally by 2015.

It is likely that in the coming years, global refractory demand will be led mainly by China followed by India.

“The increasing internationalisation of the refractories business could take an interesting turn in the coming years as India emerges as the most important market only next to China,” commented Tata Refractories’ Chattopadway.

But for that to happen, India will first have to overcome the burden of major issues such as inflation, infrastructure, power, bureaucratic democracy and above all, mineral exploration.

In addition, the country will have to solve the paradoxical problem of environment issues within the government.

India’s development will have to have a green conscience as the country will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity by 20-25% between 2005 and 2020.

But whatever pace of development that prevails, the message is summed by Ministry’s joint secretary Pande: “This decade is going to be the deciding decade for India.”


India at a glance

President: Pratibha Patil
Capital: New Delhi
Largest city: Mumbai
Population: 1.184bn.
GDP growth: 8.75%
GDP: $1,468bn
Inflation: 8.6%

IMs*

Barytes, chromite, graphite, talc, wollastonite: 2nd
Bauxite: 3rd
Kyanite/sollimanite: 4th
Manganese ore: 5th
Magnesite: 11th
Mica: 11th
Apatite/phosphate rock: 13th

Others*

Coal: 2nd
Iron: 4th
Steel (crude): 5th
Zinc: 7th
Aluminium: 8th
Copper: 11th
Petroleum (crude): 24th 

B arytes, chromite, graphite, talc, wollastonite: 2Bauxite: 3Kyanite/sollimanite: 4Manganese ore: 5Magnesite: 11Mica: 11Apatite/phosphate rock: 13Coal: 2Iron: 4Steel (crude): 5Zinc: 7Aluminium: 8Copper: 11Petroleum (crude): 24 

Industries*

Cotton: 2nd
Cement: 2nd
Ceramic tiles: 5th 

C otton: 2Cement: 2Ceramic tiles: 5 

* World producer rank