ASSOCHAM to hold a seminar to discuss the present and future of mining in Jharkhand

RNS: The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India, the knowledge architect of corporate India and an industry trade body, is organising a virtual meet on “Jharkhand: The Nucleus of Mining Hub, Challenges and Opportunities” on 15 September in New Delhi.

This webinar will focus on the roadblocks, opportunities, and the way forward for Jharkhand miners, who are facing major challenges since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, said Bharat Kumar Jaiswal, Regional Director, ASSOCHAM.

The pandemic has not only derailed the growth in the coal and the mining sector, but has also put the government’s reform agenda of this sector, temporarily on hold. The deliberations and outcome of this virtual meet will be sent to the government as recommendations for its considerations, he said.

Jaiswal further said, the outbreak of the virus and the continuous lockdown has had an adverse impact on the coal and mining markets because of low industrial activity, and therefore, reduced demand for commercial power.

This in turn has meant declining raw material usage, leading to record stockpiles at power stations and pitheads. Additionally, the sector is confronted with many other issues like mining block auction parameters, efficiency of mine development, coal import etc.

Overall, the mining sector has seen a 14 per cent reduction since last year because of the pandemic. Jharkhand, however, seems to have been the worst off in the current situation. Iron ore production has fallen by more than 25 per cent with a production of 20.8 million tonnes (MT) in 2020-21 vis-à-vis production of 28.2 MT in FY 2020, causing immense hardships for the existing steel plants.

The other big disrupter for the Jharkhand steel players is that many merchant iron ore leases in Jharkhand, which expired in 2020, are yet to be renewed, leading to further scarcity of iron ore to the state.

The webinar therefore, will focus not just on the current challenges but seek solutions through innovative ideas for reforming the sector. It will also suggest ways of bridging the gap between government and industry, articulating much-needed changes in the regulatory framework, and ideas for proper organisation of the sector in the post-Covid scenario.

Issues like greater flexibility in regulations and compliances, development of new infrastructure for mining, ensuring better lifestyle and quality of mining workers, creating new markets for raw materials, overall development of the whole industry etc, will generate a lot of interest and buzz not just among the industry stakeholders but also people at large.

With some of the top minds from the mining and allied industries, government officials, media, and those from the regulatory bodies debating on the issue, we are hopeful that the webinar will generate ready-to-implement suggestions for the government to act. The delegates too will comprise people from the mining industries, government and regulatory officials and employees and those from the media, providing a great networking opportunity.

Hence, stakeholders in the mining value chain such as those from the member companies, unions, supporting industries, regulators and others should attend this critical meeting. After all, it is their unstinted support and active involvements that will go a long way in making this programme a success. The success of this important initiative will not only be beneficial for the mining and the steel sector, but also for the country as a whole.

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