Indian mining industry to face skilled manpower shortage

March 13th, 2011 - 1:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) India, ranked among the top five global players in production of several major minerals, is poised for rapid growth in its mining industry - about five percent of the GDP. However, lack of skilled workers is set to hit the industry, creating a demand-supply gap of over 2,200 people by 2025, according to a study on mapping of human resources and skills for the mining industry in India by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Mining, which has contributed 2.5 to 3 percent to the gross domestic product over the last few years, is expected to increase to about five percent in the coming years.

“Based on the estimated demand and the current supply from various educational institutes, a demand-supply gap of about 1,500 and 2,200 is expected during the period 2009-2017 and 2009-2025 respectively,” said the study.

While the mining engineering category is expected to experience a demand-supply gap of about 8,500 during 2009-2025, the study recommends the course curriculum be updated with focus on mine safety, environment-related content and rock mechanics to better address the requirement of the industry.

One of the major areas of concern is the lack of mineral-specific professionals such as lawyers, financial analysts and economists. To support the growth of the mining sector, there is an immediate requirement to start courses for mining lawyers and mineral financial analysts, the study said.

It also pointed out the huge shortage of trained operators such as blasters, short firers, drillers, heavy machine operators and surveyors as well as the complete lack of infrastructure to train people at this level.

The shortage of formal training systems for candidates at the operator level also needs to be addressed by introducing relevant courses in technical institutes located close to mining centres, it added.

The study also said that to synchronize the efforts of the industry, government and educational institutions, an industry skills centre be set up on the lines of Australia’s Mining Industry Skills Centre.

Globally, India ranks among the top five players in terms of production of several important minerals. Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand together contribute to more than 39 percent of total mineral production in India.

At present, around 900,000 people are employed in the mining and exploration of coal, metallic and non-metallic minerals. Coal accounts for more than 75 percent of the total employment.

Orissa, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Karnataka account for around 58 percent of total metallic, non-metallic, and minor minerals employment while Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh account for more than 63 percent of total coal and lignite employment.

Of the total employment, women constitute only about seven percent. However, given the current level of employment, there is scope for further increase in women’s share of employment, the study said.

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