India - Country Commercial Guide
Mining & Mineral Processing Equipment      

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-22

Overview                       

India possesses significant mineral resources, ranking among the top ten global producers of mica, barites, coal and lignite, iron ore, chromite, bauxite, and manganese.  According to the Ministry of Mines, India mined 95 different minerals from 1,303 mines and produced an estimated $17.8 billion in minerals (excluding atomic minerals) during fiscal year April 2020–March 2021.  Coal production leads the Indian mining industry, accounting for 78 percent of total production.  India’s coal reserve is estimated at 326 billion tons, and the country produced 730.87 million metric tons (MMT) of coal during April 2019-March 2020.  During the period April 2020-Dec 2020, India produced 471.8 MMT of coal.  Data for the entire year is yet to be published.  As in past years, many mining projects across the country faced delays caused by government decision making, court cases, and environmental, regulatory, and land acquisition issues.  The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed mining operations, and the industry has faced supply chain issues and import challenges.   

India allows 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) for the exploration and mining of non-core minerals like gold, silver, and diamonds, as well as in oil exploration, captive mining of coal and lignite, and coal processing (washing and sizing).  To meet energy demand, India plans to upgrade the equipment and technology used in many of its mines, particularly in the coal sector.  In 2020, the Indian Government passed an ordinance allowing the commercial mining of coal and removing all restrictions on end-uses of mined coal.  The ordinance also removed barriers of required experience for companies to participate in coal block auctions.   

The most attractive niche sector for U.S. exports is in high-end, specialized coal mining equipment.  India’s coal mining industry accounts for 80 percent of demand for mining equipment, particularly equipment used in open-pit mines (which account for 90 per cent of India’s coal mining operations).  Although China has been the primary foreign supplier of mining equipment in recent years, ongoing political tensions between India and China provide an opportunity for U.S. suppliers to increase exports of this equipment. 

Estimated Size of Mining Equipment in India: 

 Units: $ million

2018 

2019 

2020 

2021 est. 

Total India Imports 

1,236 

1,019 

894 

840 

Imports from the United States 

98 

63 

58 

52 

U.S. Share of Imports (%)

6

7

6

Source:  Global Trade Atlas (HTS 82071300, 820719, 843031, 84303900, 843041, 843049, 84314990, 846711, 847420, 8474900) 

Leading Sub-Sectors 

  • Long wall machinery, such as loaders, draglines, and jumbo drills
  • Heavy machinery, such as excavators, shovels, dump trucks, and coal/rock cutters
  • Continuous and highwall mining technology
  • Equipment for mineral screening, crushing, grinding, and coal washing
  • Underground communication and mine safety systems; and 
  • Coal mine methane utilization / Coal bed methane (CBM) technology.  

Opportunities 

Coal India Limited (CIL), which is administered by India’s Ministry of Coal, is the single largest coal producer in the world, It operates 352 mines (158 underground, 174 opencast, and 20 mixed).  CIL has eight subsidiaries in India and a foreign subsidiary in Mozambique.  CIL oversees the activities of the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd., which acts as a centralized planning organization assisting in mining operations and design.  CIL has 123 ongoing coal mining projects which are in different stages of implementation, and in 2020 approved an additional 18 coal mining projects with a total capacity of 132 MMT per annum and total planned capital investment of $2.9 billion.  CIL produced 602 MMT of coal from April 2019-March 2020, compared to 606 MMT mined during the previous year.  It produced 409 MMT of coal during the period April 2020-December 2020.  Data for the entire year is not yet available.  CIL also operates 12 coal washeries (10 coking and 2 non-coking) with capacity of 31.23 MMT per annum, and is planning eight new washeries.  It owns and operates 33 draglines, 661 shovels, 2678 dumpers, 967 dozers and 652 drills.   

To enhance production, CIL seeks to improve railway links, modernize equipment for higher capacity mining (e.g., exploration augmentation, operator independent truck dispatch systems, continuous miner technology, long wall technology), and increase coal washing operations.  In the next five years, CIL plans to introduce 26 continuous miners in 19 mines, longwall miners in two mines and highwall miner in two mines, for which proposal reports are approved.  In the next three years, CIL plans to procure six draglines, 27 shovels, 198 dumpers and 11 bulldozers. Coal India Tenders manages CIL’s tender announcements and explanations of the procurement process.

Opportunities are also open for U.S. coal exporters, as India imports coal (thermal and coking) to meet its demand.  During the period April 2019-March 2020, India imported 248.54 MMT of coal (196.7 MMT thermal and 51.84 MMT coking).  It imported 113.28 MMT of coal during the period April 2020-December 2020.  Data for entire year is not yet available. 

Apart from CIL, several other public and private entities procure mining equipment.  In South India, Singareni Collieries Company Limited, jointly owned by the government of Telangana and the government of India, produces about 50 MMT of coal from 20 opencast and 25 underground mines.  In Tamil Nadu, NLC India Limited produces 24 MMT of lignite from four open cast mines.  In the private sector, Tata Steel continues to be a major buyer of equipment for its captive coal and iron ore mines in Jharkhand.  India’s private sector power utility companies like Adani Power, CESC, Jindal Steel and Power, and Tata Power are also working on projects to develop, own, and operate captive coal mines, which will require the latest technologies and equipment.   

NMDC Limited is India’s largest iron ore producer and exporter, mining over 31 MMT per year from its three fully mechanized mines.  In addition to iron ore, NMDC plans to acquire new mining leases for other minerals such as coal, diamonds, and gold, and will be leasing or buying properties directly from foreign countries through Special Purpose Vehicles or Joint Ventures. 

Other large mining companies in India include Essel Mining,  Orissa Minerals Development Company, Vedanta Limited, Hindalco, National Aluminium Company Limited, Hindustan Zinc, Hindustan Copper, GMDC, and Steel Authority of India Limited. 

Small-scale opportunities exist in the used equipment market, despite the lack of a common trading platform.  Mining equipment rental is a  slowly growing market.  While companies with large fleets like iQuippo, Gainwell, and Sanghvi Movers are entering the market, most services are still provided by small fleet owners with less than ten machines on average.

One challenge for U.S. mining machinery companies is that the Indian market is highly price-focused and less likely to buy machinery that costs less to operate and moves more material.  As a result, many Indian companies seek the least expensive machinery and ignore that U.S. machines are more productive and require less maintenance.

For more information about export opportunities in this sector, please contact Commercial Specialist Shantanu Sarkar at shantanu.sarkar@trade.gov