India signs MoU with Canada’s Ontario province

Toronto, July 9 (IANS) Just over a week after the prime ministers of India and Canada signed nuclear and mining agreements, India Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with this country’s Ontario province.

Known as the economic powerhouse of Canada, Ontario – with Toronto as its capital – is considered the country’s mining capital, boasting the world’s biggest mines of copper, nickel, zinc and diamond.

‘The MoU will open a new chapter in relations between India and Ontario and establish the framework for cooperation between the two countries,’ said Indian Mines Minister Bijoy Krishna Handique after signing the MoU with Ontario Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.

‘Through this MoU, we are poised to promote (Canadian) investment in the field of mining and mining related activities, mineral exploration and exploitation and to encourage and foster mining investment, transfer of technology and joint ventures in India and Ontario,’ Handique said.

After Argentina and Namibia, Canada is the third country with which India has clinched a MoU in the mining sector.

‘An MoU with Columbia in the pipeline, and we have yet to make the one with China operational,’ Handique said.

The minister said the growth rate in India’s mineral sector was a sluggish 2.8 percent. ‘We want to raise it to at least five percent. These MoUs are part of our efforts to reach that goal,’ he said.

He said the new mining policy will be introduced in the winter session of parliament.

Handique is also visiting Quebec province Friday to lay the groundwork for a similar MoU with that province too.

Welcoming Handique, Harinder Takhar, Ontario’s minister for small business and consumer services, said, ‘The MoU signed today (Thursday) will enable Ontario’s strengths and capabilities to be deployed to help India transform its mines and mineral sector, and encourage Indian investment in Ontario.

‘India’s growth has been remarkable and demand in India for our base metals will soar in coming years, as will the need for our long-standing expertise in mining practices and entrepreneurship, as well as metallurgy.

‘Ontario’s expertise in mining is known around the world, so we are natural and willing partners. From uranium and nickel, to cobalt and potash, Ontario and the rest of Canada stands ready to supply India during its next industrial surge forward.’

Hemant Shah, who represented Canada’s Cubex Ltd which has been supplying mining equipment to India for 30 years, said, ‘The MoU will enthuse the Canadian private sector to look at India positively. India will get the latest technology, expertise and investment as Canada is the world leader in mining.’

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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