How Green the Future of Metal & Mining Industry in India Can Get?
According to India's five-decade trip to a net zero plan, it will involve a number of expenditures related to the development of new technologies, new infrastructure, and other transaction costs. While several estimates vary amongst studies, they all largely fall in the trillions of dollars by 2050. As we know how building blocks are necessary for a structure to be constructed, ore is necessary for metal, which is found in the earth's crust. There is a possibility that the ores will become scarce in the future because they are finite resources. India will rise up the value chain of steel by producing specialty steel to the level of sophisticated steel-producing nations like Korea and Japan, putting it on par with them.
Alloys are widely employed in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, the military, industrial, and medical. Aluminum, copper, nickel, stainless steel, and titanium alloys have particular uses in various tools, machinery, cars, buildings, and industries. Additional difficulties have been brought on by sector-specific problems with regulation, geopolitical risk, legal restrictions on using natural resources, shareholder agitation, and public scrutiny. The future success of certain mining firms will depend on a number of trends, even if we anticipate an increase in demand for minerals in the next few years. Growth is fueled by the increase in automotive and infrastructural construction. The sector's expansion is also being aided by the power and cement industries. Given the high growth projections for the residential and commercial building sector, demand for iron and steel is expected to persist. Let us look into trends that will shape the Metal and mining industry:
Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy
To realize the energy transition, there has been an increase in demand for metals and minerals. Since the 18th century, the use of fossil fuels has increased living standards worldwide; nonetheless, the associated greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to global warming. Countries must decarbonize their energy systems by the middle of this century if they want to prevent temperatures from rising to the point where they will have disastrous effects on the environment. The transformation offers the mining industry a huge opportunity in addition to the low-emission electricity and transportation systems that are more mineral-intensive than their equivalents that use fossil fuels. The mining industry will also need to cut back on its own emissions. The best-positioned mining businesses to market low-carbon premium minerals use renewable energy to power their operations, use electric or hydrogen-powered truck fleets, and incorporate recycling into their value chains.
New Ways to Finance Mining
Innovative finance and production strategies will spread as mining corporations attempt to reduce risk. Commodity prices crashed in the first decade of the twenty-first century when Chinese demand sparked a boom in demand, forcing mining corporations to concentrate on lowering debt ratios and strengthening their balance sheets. Alternative finance methods, like royalty and metal stream agreements, have been devised to ease the strain on the balance sheets of mining firms. These financing options are probably going to keep expanding as a means of distributing the risk of new capital-intensive enterprises. In order to lessen their exposure to a certain project or jurisdiction, businesses may also look to create joint ventures similar to those seen in the oil and gas sector. They may also take service agreements into consideration.
Access to Resources
Businesses will need to explore frontier mining regions. Mining corporations must either learn new technologies for extraction and processing or push into frontier regions where extraction hasn't previously been economically viable as world-class mineral resources in low-risk locations run out.
Automation and digitization will make mining more targeted and effective, which could be further improved by technological advancements in fields like in-situ leaching, a mining process used to recover minerals like copper and uranium through boreholes drilled into a deposit, block caving, an underground mining technique that uses gravity to exploit ore bodies located at depth, or biomining, a method for extracting metals from ores and other solid materials.
Higher perceived risk mining jurisdictions may experience an increase in investor interest. Governments and businesses will increasingly investigate deep sea and asteroid mining in the hunt for high-grade mineral resources. Although these technologies will give mining corporations new opportunities to maximize the value of already-existing resources or provide access to new ones, they remain untested in terms of business models, procedures, and potential negative social and environmental effects.
A Social Contracting of Mining
Realizing advantages for local communities close to mine sites will be essential for new projects to succeed. The mining industry has recently faced difficulties obtaining the "license to operate" from nearby communities. Protests have halted work and caused many proposed projects to be rejected. Local opposition to mining is likely to increase if no new business models are developed that benefit the affected, as a record number of mines are approaching the end of their useful lives, and insufficient funds are being set aside for remediation, new mining projects are expanding the sector's footprint without necessarily creating more local employment opportunities due to automation, and water stress and extreme weather events have increased due to global warming.
Big Data and Mining
Data transparency to improve stakeholder engagement with the mining industry plays a key role. Mining businesses will need to gather and handle enormous volumes of data as they digitize and automate their operations. The topic of what data should be disclosed and made visible will continue to be hotly contested. Consumers will push for increased value chain transparency; investors will use the proliferation of non-financial data to better assess the risks of their mining portfolios; civil society will continue to push for companies to go beyond the mandatory EITI Standard; and impacted communities are particularly interested in accessing data that capture the externalities that result from mining. Governments will continue to push for companies to go beyond the mandatory EITI Standard. It will be key for companies to work together with other stakeholders to understand the types of data that should be made available and the appropriate format that data disclosure should take in order to ensure standardization, usefulness, and impact.