One of the major challenges is the availability of skilled manpower. There needs to be a sustainable recruitment policy that can bridge the supply demand gap for skilled manpower for mining operations, says K Ramesh Reddy, Senior General Manager - Operations, AMR India. Excerpts from the interview..
Will there be any investment from your side for new equipment?
We have over Rs 200 crore worth equipment for mining. We have trucks of Scania P380, Volvo FM400; excavators of Hitachi ZX650, Volvo 700, Komatsu PC 400, dozers and water tankers as per requirement of the sites. We are also executing an underground project of BCCL degree-III underground greenfield project named Kapuria. We are going to do long wall technology here. This is the biggest private mine with long wall technology in degree-III in the country. Equipment will be purchased by BCCL and we will be rendering the services with guaranteed output and the investment involved will be Rs 1,000 crore.
How do assess the technology involved in exploration?
Only CMPDI has the facility of exploration for coal mining in India. In exploration, we are in a pre-natal stage and still we are not at international standard, a lot of work has to be done on this. From 1994 to 2007, on the 208 blocks have been given, not much detailed exploration was done even after operation, also. So definitely there is a lot to be done on exploration.
What are the major challenges as a service provider you face?
Getting loan and equipment is a major challenge. Another challenge is the availability of skilled manpower. There needs to be a sustainable recruitment policy that can bridge the supply demand gap for skilled manpower.
Is there any major capex happening from the major coal and mineral PSUs?
No major capex are there with PSUs as they already have equipment that can be deployed, and for new projects capex seems to be limited. However, some coal companies like SCCL, BCCL and CCCL are trying to go for advanced underground mining technology which makes fresh investment imperative.
How do you assess the potential from private players?
In open cast mining, there is hardly any progress we could see though there are plans on the board. In today´s scenario there are so many outsourcing contractors available who plays a major role in the removal of over burden. So the demand potential from private players is huge, but equipment sourcing is a problem. If we have to open up a big open cast project, we require big equipment for which capex requirement is more, and lead time to get new equipment is too long. For eg, if you want an excavator of 25 cu m capacity and dumper of 250T capacity, minimum two years is required for the manufacturer as lead time. Hence big opencast projects cannot be effectively serviced if the private players don´t upgrade the capacity of equipment used. Generally all the players are using 35T construction tippers of Benz, Volvo, Scania and 3.5 cu m tippers are currently used for the mining operations. But in future, one may not be able to do major volumes with these trucks. Definitely you will have to go for bigger equipment.
What is your assessment on the recent budget on the coal and mineral mining?
In the current scenario, one good indication is that the government wants to move things faster and want the mineable reserves to be mined at the earliest. We sincerely appreciate this. Basically out of 208 blocks, 42 blocks were producing before cancellation and there was another 32 blocks on the verge of starting the coal production. So leaving these 74 out of 208, the remaining134 have not done much progress. Though the allocation has done by the Central Government, state governments also should take steps in clearing the hurdles and they should associate with the coal block owners to clear bottlenecks.
Though the allocation has done by the Central Government, state governments also should take steps in clearing the hurdles and they should associate with the coal block owners to clear bottlenecks.