December 2019

Country snapshot: India

  • By Ryan Leaver, Marketing and Editorial Assistant, AusIMM

With more than 1500 mines in operation and only 20 per cent of the country’s reserves mined, India has the potential to become an even bigger player in the resources industry

The seventh largest country in the world by land mass, and second largest in Asia (behind only China), India has an evergrowing population already well beyond one billion people. This figure accounts for roughly one-sixth of the world’s total population and is again second only to China (1.43 billion).

India’s population is expected to grow even more and is projected to overtake China’s within the next five years.

One of India’s most notable landmarks is the world-famous Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah in honour of his favourite wife after her passing in 1631.

Mining in India

Within the nation’s large population sits many successful industries, including the mining industry, which provides over 700 000 job opportunities. India is home to 1531 operating mines and produces 95 different minerals; the nation is a world-leading producer in iron ore, bauxite, coal, chromium and other minerals. Overall, the mining industry is very diverse in India.

The 95 minerals that India produces can be broken down into the following categories: four fuel-related minerals, 10 metallic minerals, 23 non-metallic minerals, three atomic minerals and 55 minor minerals (including building and other minerals).

India is the world’s second largest producer of crude steel, third largest producer of coal, and fourth largest producer of iron ore. The crude steel produced in India in 2018 sat at more than 106 million tonnes.

Mining’s contribution to India’s total GDP has gradually decreased over time, dropping from 1.93 per cent of the GDP in 2012-13 to 1.53 per cent in 2017-18. This is due to the fast-growing nature of other industries, such as services and agriculture.

Furthermore, compared to other mature mining nations such as Australia and Canada, India’s exploration spend is low. India accounts for only two per cent of the world’s global exploration spend, while Canada and Australia account for 14 and 13 per cent respectively.

‘India is home to 1531 operating mines and produces 95 different minerals; the nation is a world leading producer in iron ore, bauxite, coal, chromium and other minerals.’

Trade and finances

Currently standing at US$2.726 trillion, India’s GDP has increased every year since the Global Financial Crisis, having dropped from US$1.217 trillion to US$1.199 trillion in 2008.

2017 saw India export US$292 billion worth of goods, which was far outweighed by the import number of US$417 billion. This resulted in a negative trade balance of UD$125 billion, a significantly different number to the positive trade balance of US$340 million that the country experienced in 1995.

India’s trade partners stretch all across the globe, with goods being both imported from and exported to many different countries. India’s top export destination is the US, whilst the country they import the most goods from is China.

India is currently Australia’s fourth top trading partner, and through mining and METS there are continual opportunities for both countries to benefit. In the METS sector particularly Australia has the opportunity to supply India with underground mining equipment, simulation and training (including virtual reality), safety equipment and much more.


A proud country going through continual growth, India is already one of the largest influencers not only in the resources industry, but also in the global economy.

Image: Yuri Taranik/


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