India to take a tough line on illegal mining in its own country
Posted On August 1, 2021
India has warned foreign mining firms not to enter the country’s territory unless they have an “adequate” security plan and will be “very strict” on those who try to enter illegally.
The Foreign Affairs ministry said the move comes as Indian officials prepare to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government that will see Indian mining companies provide “technical assistance and training” to Chinese firms on how to deal with Indian law enforcement agencies.
Under the deal, Indian mining firms will be given “ministerial and technical assistance and technical training” and will provide “minerals, raw material and chemicals for the Indian industry”.
Indian mining firms, however, have been accused of ignoring security concerns in recent months, including in the controversial Chidambaram mine in Western India, where security officials said they found a Chinese team operating in violation of Indian law.
The Chinese mining company has denied any wrongdoing.
India has been trying to establish an effective border security system, a key issue as Chinese investors push for access to India’s vast natural resources.
Indian officials have been urging Chinese companies to invest in India’s mines, particularly in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a region rich in copper and diamond ore.
But China has refused to invest, saying it is already a major exporter of goods in India.
The Indian government is keen to increase its role in mining and infrastructure, but has faced criticism for being slow to act on Chinese mining companies that have illegally mined in the country.
Last year, a Chinese national was killed and more than 200 injured in a fire at a Chinese-owned copper mine in India, prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping to declare a “war” against “illegal mining”.
The Indian government has also faced criticism over its failure to stop Chinese mining at the border, despite the fact that India is the world’s third-largest copper producer and a major hub for trade.
Earlier this year, the Indian government said it was suspending all mining licences and suspending the purchase of mining machinery.
India is also under pressure to build up its own mining industry.
The country is the third-biggest copper producer in the world and has more than two million tonnes of copper in the ground.