June 1, 2020 - In a recent online article, Micha? Zagda?ski, Export Engineer in the Service Centre of Poland’s mining equipment major FAMUR, outlined some recent successes for the company in penetrating India’s coal mining market with its technology. The company now has three machines in operation in the Indian mines, namely the EZ-K10 bolting and drilling rig and two AM-50z-w roadheaders.
Zagda?ski states: “These machines are relatively easy to operate, and their use and maintenance do not require a high technical culture or advanced tools. We also present new solutions on a regular basis, nevertheless, the process of their implementation in India is frequently quite long and difficult, due to cultural and historical conditions. In addition, when buying a machine, the customer expects technical support for as long as possible, often requiring even one year’s training or supervision, not only with regard to the operation of the machine, but also mining technology.”
The two roadheaders were delivered to the Gare Palma IV/8 mine, which is located near Raigarh, in central-eastern India, Chhattisgarh state. The handover took place in November 2019. At first, the roadheaders are performing works related to the opening out of the deposit, and then they will be used to produce coal. The mine is being developed and operated by TMC Mining Corp on behalf of block owner Ambuja Cements. TMC or Technoblast Mining Corporation is a leading Indian contract miner and is headquartered in Raipur. It also has the contract to operate a surface mine in the same block.
Zagda?ski adds: “Due to the rapid development of infrastructure in India, there is a huge demand for electricity in this country. In general, it is obtained from coal. In 2018, its output amounted here to about 770 Mt – in comparison, about 64 Mt were extracted in Poland at that time. Due to the growing demand for steel in India, in order to meet the needs of industry and citizens, the production of coking coal increases by about 5% per year on average, so does the power coal production. It is also worth emphasising that India imports very large volumes of this raw material from Indonesia, the Republic of South Africa and China. Whereas the resources of deposits themselves in India are estimated to last approximately 136 years. Although the vast majority of coal extraction takes place in open cast mines, underground deposits are also becoming increasingly common. This is where the real opportunities to develop sales of machinery and equipment that are manufactured by the FAMUR Group appear.”
The article adds that although the Indian market is extremely attractive – India is one of the world’s largest producers of power and coking coal – entrepreneurs must face numerous obstacles. “They range from harsh climatic conditions, language and communication barriers that make it difficult to communicate with the lower-level staff, to a low technical culture that often leads to many breakdowns caused by the user. Unqualified personnel is a very big problem on the Indian market. Most people employed in the mines are residents of surrounding villages, who can neither write nor read. Distances also provide additional impediments preventing a prompt response to reported problems. However, it is a large and important trade market, focused on the mechanisation of extraction processes.”
Despite the difficult conditions in the mines (high accumulation of water, very problematic output haulage, large gradients at machinery operating sites, high hardness of fragmented rock) and preliminary technical problems, caused mainly by the lack of experience of the operators, FAMUR says its machines have started to deliver results in compliance with the customer’s requirements.
Zagda?ski sums up the potential as follows: “The country is facing a major challenge, as it is estimated that due to the dynamic development of industry and society, energy consumption will have doubled by 2040. Therefore, despite large investments in renewable energy, fossil fuels should remain the core of the energy mix. In addition, environmental conditions cause the abandonment of open cast coal mining, in favour of the exploitation of underground deposits and, as we know, this process requires more advanced solutions. To sum up the aforementioned factors, it can be concluded that there is a chance for a large expansion of the machines manufactured by the FAMUR Group on Indian market.”