LISTED Indian-based subsidiary of gold explorer Australian Indian Resources (AIR), Deccan Gold Mines, says while its operations on the subcontinent are flourishing, it’s playing something of a lone hand.
Former WA jeweller Charles Devenish, who now chairs Deccan in India, told WA Business News Australian companies are ignoring a fantastic opportunity in India.
“Today, Australia could dominate large sectors of the Indian economy, especially in the mining sector,” Mr Devenish said.
“I have been telling my Australian friends for many years to pack their bags and come up here, but to no avail.
“The sad thing is that Australia will become marginalised in most areas of business.”
AIR was established in 1993 with capital of $40 million not long after India opened up its mining sector to foreign investment.
The company eventually cut through government red tape to list the first private sector gold exploration company, Deccan Gold Mines, on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2001.
It now has plans to list a nickel company and a zinc company.
There are other foreign mining companies in India, but they are generally the bigger players, such as BHP Billiton.
The theory behind AIR is simple and it has drawn the support of some high-profile mining names, including international consultant geologist and chartered engineer Abraham Janse and one of Australia’s most famous modern prospectors, Mark Creasy.
India’s geology is similar to that of Western Australia, but no modern exploration has been carried out in India.
About half of India’s billion-strong population consume a total 825 tonnes of gold a year, and the country has a very large pool of highly trained and skilled technical workers and a well-regulated and active stock exchange.
“In my opinion this will all add up to an enormous future mining boom,” Mr Devenish said.
“If Australia with a population of 20 million can have 500 listed exploration and mining companies, then what can be the potential for India?
“My prediction is that India will become the dominant mining country in the world within 20 years.”
Currently Deccan says it has at least two significant gold discoveries on its hands, one with similarities to the WA Hill 50 gold mine near Mt Magnet.
It has recently completed a rights issue split between Indian shareholders, Australian shareholders and Rama Mines — a holding company in Mauritius — which will allow it to carry out an extensive drilling program near the only operating gold mine in India (State-owned) — the Hutti Gold Mine.
More recently Mr Devenish said there were plans for a small capital raising in Australia soon to help finance two listed companies for nickel and zinc.
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