New Delhi: The government will encourage value addition activities in the aluminium sector and seek to enhance self-sufficiency in the industry which is facing a surge in imports, said Piyush Goyal, minister for power, coal, mines and new and renewable energy.
Addressing industry executives at the CII Global Natural Resources Conclave here, Goyal said the time has come for India to go for aggressive expansion in not just exploration of minerals but also in downstream value-added products.
Goyal’s emphasis on self-sufficiency and value addition in the minerals sector comes in the wake of domestic companies getting impacted by aluminium imports that account for more than half of annual domestic consumption of about 3.4 million tonnes.
“While India will remain a part of the global trade network, some amount of self-sufficiency is always good and it will help in checking product prices in the long term,” Goyal said.
As per industry estimates, imports accounted for 54% of India’s 1.68 million tonnes of aluminium consumption in the first half of 2016-17. The share of imports was 51% in the full 2015-16 fiscal.
Goyal said encouraging value addition in the metals sector will boost small and medium industries. SMEs account for most of the value addition in the manufacturing sector.
To boost exploration, the mines ministry is set to put in public domain data about the country’s entire mineral reserves. Based on investor feedback, areas will be carved out for auctions. “We are open to suggestions on how to double the share of mining output in the country’s gross domestic product from 2.4% at present,” said the minister.
Goyal said that when there was a shortage of coal in the past, power projects were designed to work on imported coal. This is adversely affecting offtake of coal at present. The minister said that Tamil Nadu has agreed to shift certain projects to domestic coal.