Next-gen technologies needed in mining sector: Saraswat


New Delhi: To enhance productivity in the mining sector, former DRDO chairman and NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat today said, absence of geophysical and geochemical data, use of obsolete and time consuming drilling equipment is hampering growth in the industry and pitched for using next- generation technologies.

Saraswat said, the organised sector in mining which is mostly dominated by large Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and few private companies use a fairly good mechanised techniques with skilled manpower.

However, the unorganised sector, which mostly comprises the medium and small operators, use manual methods and employ unskilled labourers and mostly mine marble and granite.

“Most of the time absence of geophysical and geochemical data, use of obsolete and time consuming drilling equipment leads to low productivity. Lack of modern off-shore mineral exploration techniques is also a hindrance.

“Hence we should start adopting advanced technologies for mining. The mines are getting older and deeper and the quality of ore is getting depleted.

The former DRDO chairman was speaking at the inauguration of a three-day International Conference on NexGen Technologies for Mining and Fuel Industries. The conference has been organised by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research.

Union Minister Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan, who was also present at the inauguration, said conditions in mines needs to be improved with help of science and focus should be on dealing with chronic illness related pulmonary functions.

Emphasising that mining is essential for the growth of the country, he said while the industrial production constitutes 24.2 of the GDP, the mining sector comprises 2.8 per cent of industrial production.

He added, in 2014-15 the mining sector generated revenue of 2,83,062 crore, which is 7.7 per cent rise to that of 2011-12.

Stating that India shares geological potential to Australia and Africa, Saraswat said, India ranks no 5 in coal, which is 295 billion tonnes, number sixth in zinc which is 50 billion tonnes and seventh in iron ore, estimated to be around 35 billion tonnes.

He added that mining forms a significant per cent of GDP of states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Goa.