ICCC's Canada-India Mining Forum
By A Correspondent
Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) organized the first Canada-India Mining Forum to discuss cooperation between Canada and India in the mining sector. The forum witnessed participation from federal and provincial governments, trade bodies and industry associations, as well as professionals such as bankers and lawyers associated with the mining sector.
A delegation from YES Bank India comprising Tushar Pandey, President & Country Head Strategic Initiatives & Government Advisory Group (SIGA); Ashish N. Chandak, Executive Director and Regional Business Leader, Infrastructure Banking Group, YES Bank; Kangan Mehta, Manager, Strategic Initiatives & Government Advisory Group (SIGA) also participated in the conference. YES Bank is the only private entity as advisor with the Ministry of Mines, Government of India.
In his introductory remarks Naval Bajaj, President ICCC said that Chamber has formed its ‘Canada-India Mining Committee’ to promote trade and investment in the mining and mineral sector development and to provide a collaborative platform for networking and sharing market intelligence. Quoting statistics, Naval Bajaj emphasized the need for institutionalized collaboration between Canada and India in this sector. Canadian mineral exports accounted for 22.8% of the country’s total exports and for 17.3% of its imports. Canada exported the minerals of the value of $973,428 to India and imported $644,608 in the year 2011.
During his presentation, Tushar Pandey explained in details on trends in Indian mining sector, including its institutional framework and existing legislations. He also spoke of the critical challenges faced by the sector and the business opportunities for Canadian companies available in India in this sector. India can learn from Canada for adopting innovative finance model to integrate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate with other entities for value chain as SMEs can be a good value addition for the development of mining sector in India.
Mining and quarrying sector accounted for about 2.7% of the Indian GDP in 2010-11. Total value of mineral production in India during the same year was US$43 billion. A new act on the mining sector is under consideration with the standing committee for final approval. The act will provide 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in mining. The Canada-India cooperation in this sector will increase the exploration and extraction of the minerals in an efficient manner with increased productivity.
Ashish Chandak in his presentation said that mining and mineral industry is one of the fundamental building blocks of any developed industrial economy. Indian exports in this sector was US$30 billion in the year 2010-11, in which the diamond was the principal item of export which accounted 71.26%. India also imported ores and minerals of US$ 121.63 billion in the same year which shows that India is also one of the largest consumers. Canada has the world’s best technologies available for this sector so cooperation between the two will be a win-win situation for achieving zero waste mining. Canadian knowhow can accelerate the entire mining life cycle in India so there is sufficient space for joint ventures through commercially viable technologies, services, supplies, training and human resource development in this sector, exchange of information on research and development and most importantly the Canadian experience in handling the corporate social responsibility in dealing with the natives of those areas.
Anil Arora, Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada explained the strengths of Canada which has more than a century of recorded experience in mining. Canada is one of the top producers of over 11 minerals and metals such as potash, uranium, cobalt, aluminium, platinum group metals, etc. Canada has over 1,400 exploration and mining companies most of them listed on the stock exchange and more than 200 producing mining establishments. Canada has generated employment in this sector for 320,000 people. In the next ten year Canada has planned $500 billion investment in this sector and the major challenge would be to have skilled labour in this sector. Canada’s natural resources exports in 2011 were $233.3 billion and it is 55.7% of total exports. Canada is also developing programs for green mining for zero emission to save the ecological balance. Anil Arora said that Canada is willing to supply Indian markets in the long run as India as developing countries needs more natural resources and Canada have the capacity to fill that gap. Canada has a strong tradition of education, research and training in this sector. He also said that Canada has a friendly regulatory system for the FDI in this sector and shows concerns about Indian mining laws.
Christine Kaszycki Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Ontario, Canada presented the snapshot on Ontario’s mining sector. Ontario is leader in the Canadian mining sector with consistent history of exploration and mineral development. Ontario has advanced technologies, experienced work force and a well-developed research & development support network. Ontario has 42 mines are in operation, 6 reopening this year with another 8 expected to open in the next decade and $ 6 billion in expanding and upgrading existing gold, nickel and diamond operations. Ontario has planned investment of over $4 billion in the next 3-4 years to develop operations in Ontario’s Ring of Fire area.
Brendon Marshall, Director, Economic Affairs, the Mining Association of Canada said that Mining is one of Canada's most important economic sectors and is a major driver of our country's prosperity. In 2011, the mining industry contributed $35.6B to Canada’s GDP, employed 320,000 workers, and paid $9B in taxes and royalties to provincial/federal governments. $140B in new mining investment is expected over the next decade with multiple billions expected in most regions of Canada. Mining industry is cyclical – although current global economic slowdown has resulted with reduced mineral demand and prices, the long-term demand for metals and minerals is good with the continued development of emerging economies, such as China, India and Brazil.
Canada is a global mining leader and is home to the second-most “top 100” mining companies in the world. About 1,000 Canadian exploration companies operate in other countries. He predicted India is one of the most efficient and consumer oriented growing market so there is a wider scope for the International companies to start their operations in India.