“More exploration is needed in Nepal to harness the potential in mining”

  4 min 16 sec to read

The Stockholm, Sweden-based Epiroc is renowned manufacturer of equipment widely used in mining and infrastructure. Epiroc was part of the Atlas Copco Group, founded in 1873, until June 18, 2018, when Epiroc was distributed to the shareholders of Atlas Copco and became a stand-alone, listed company.

Epiroc has been operating in the Nepali market through its partner Nepal Construction and Engineering Corporation (NCEC) Pvt. Ltd.

Jerry Andersson, managing director, Epiroc Mining India Limited, was recently in Nepal for a business visit. New Business Age caught up with Anderson to talk about the company’s business and presence in the Nepali market, and its plans for Nepal market. Excerpts:

Epiroc’s presence in Nepal through its local partner NCEC has spanned several decades. How has the journey been so far?
We started our partnership with NCEC at the same time when we started operating in India. It’s been almost six decades. It is wonderful that we have a partnership with NCEC, because they have an extensive portfolio that complements ours.

It gives better positioning for our products and us as well. Together with NCEC, we have been engaged in several hydropower projects. We have seen ups and downs in our presence, but we are still here, and are going to be here for a long time.  

What products and services has Epiroc been providing through NCEC? What are the current and future areas of focus for the company?
Mining in Nepal is in its infancy. We have sold a few smaller machines for limestones and small grilling machines here and have also sold some exploration units. Given the potential in Nepal, I think mining is going to expand in the future.

As for involvement in infrastructural development, it is mainly in the hydropower projects.

Besides, we have also been involved in fast track tunnelling projects – one tunnel out of Kathmandu and another in Nagdhunga, which we are looking after. As for the future, there has been a deal signed between Nepal and China to construct railway tracks and tunnels.

As we are specialised in machinery and products, we will look to be a part of such projects.

How is Epiroc’s market in Nepal growing?
The Nepali market has started to speed up in the last couple of years. Currently, we work more in hydropower projects in the country. We have been engaged with Khimti Hydropower Project, Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Project, Kaligandaki “A” Hydroelectric Project and Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project.

Melamchi Water Supply Project is the latest project we have been working on, and more hydropower projects are coming on.

As for mining, limestone extraction has huge potential. I think we can find more prospects when we do more exploration, and I’m sure that in the future we will grow in this sector. Moreover, many things are starting to happen in Nepal. So, it is an exciting market in Nepal.

We have over 50 pieces of equipment that are spread out over Nepal that are being served by our partner.

I would not be surprised if that doubles in the next five years. We will continue to grow, and we look at other potentials, such as rental equipment for those looking into financial solutions.

What about the mining and natural resources sector in Nepal?  How can the potential be harnessed?
The government has opened up more for mining activities. Having said that, it will take a few more years for the mining sector to grow.

Nepal has enormous potential in hydropower development and export of energy. The policy initiations of the government are going in the right direction.

There needs to be more exploration done in order to harness the potential in mining. Only through exploration, can we find out where new prospects are and then take the decision to exploit them or not. With mining, there is a concern over preserving the environment.

When we mine, we have to be careful, and that’s something the government can do. They set the rules, and they should also set the rules on how exploitation should be done. It should be done in a modern and effective way.

What are Epiroc’s long-term plans for Nepal?
Our plan is to grow with our partner. We are strengthening our after sales service at the moment.

From the next month, we will have Epiroc representatives stationed in Nepal, supporting our customers, which we will do together with NCEC. With a stronger focus, we will continue to do what we have been doing over the years.

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