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Helicopters Playing a Key Role in Growing India’s Mining Sector

According to a Citigroup report, its mining analyst, Craig Sainsbury, estimated that India has more than USD 200 billion on non-energy, reserve wealth and more than 100 years of average mine life at current exploitation rate. And a strategy paper issued in November 2011 for the Ministry of Mines confirms that “with the right kind of support, the mining sector has the potential to add USD 210 billion to USD 250 billion to GDP by 2025, a growth of 10 to 12 percent per annum”.

The strategy paper also stressed the importance of developing infrastructure, human capital and technology to support the growth of the mining sector, as the sector currently suffers great losses due to inefficiencies in logistics.

This is where helicopters could come in handy, as a cost-effective solution to various aspects in the business of mining.

The all-round service provided by helicopters

From the initial geophysical surveys and exploration, transportation of equipment, cargo and workers, to medical assistance and evacuation — the helicopter is not only a significant time-saver, but it also helps to reduce the destructive impact on the environment.

Launched less than 10 years ago in India, Geophysical survey from helicopter has become popular with the introduction of Eurocopter helicopter AS350 B3. Every year, around four to five AS350 B3 fly in all the states of India for this mission, thanks to its high performance and cost-efficiency. Capable of transporting six passengers with one pilot, it has recorded the highest rescue in helicopter history at 22,000 ft, and is the only helicopter to have the ability to land on the top of Mount Everest. It is currently the best seller in the India helicopter market and the pioneer of aerial work in India.

Transportation of equipment, cargo and workers using a helicopter translates to great savings on time — a precious commodity in today's world. A helicopter can easily carry equipment to and from locations where road accessibility is limited, or where locations are very far out causing long travelling time. The AS350 B3, in addition to its cabin space, can also carry 1.4 tonne weight under slung.

For heavy load up to 4,5 tonne, Eurocopter has a heavy helicopter model AS332 Super Puma in its stable that can be considered. In addition to time-saving, unnecessary destruction of the environment to build access roads can be avoided as a result. Precious cargo can also be transported away quickly and safely.

Aside from productivity, the modern society demands increased safety in a profession that is considered highly dangerous. When medical emergency situation arises, the helicopter can be used as an air-ambulance. The versatility of helicopters will be much appreciated here, as models like the Eurocopter AS350 B3 and the twin-engined EC135 are popular choices as they can be easily reconfigured to accommodate one stretcher and two medical attendants.

With the vast potential of growth, mining will undoubtedly remain an important cog in the wheel of India’s economic development. And helicopters should be well-considered in the expansion plan for the benefits that such rotary-wing aircrafts can bring.

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