The government will not let state-run and private companies export or sell surplus mineral stock being mined for captive use, according to news reports “This includes all major minerals such as limestone, bauxite, manganese ore and iron ore,”said Basant Podder, vice president, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI).
Large steel mills in Karnataka, or elsewhere, buying iron ore from state-run NMDC, the largest iron ore miner in the country, will suffer. Smaller players, who have invested roughly Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 100 crore in their steel mils, could get choked, Poddar said..
“So NMDC, which proposes to set up a three million ton steel plant in mineral rich northern Karnataka with Russia’s OAO Severstal, will not be able to export surplus ore mined to private steel mills in the country. It has been selling surplus ore to steel mills for years,” Poddar said.
India, in 2011, much before the mining bans, was the third-largest exporter of iron ore, exporting around 100 million tons. Half of this was from Goa.
The country’s iron ore production is expected to drop to around 130-140 million tons during the 2012-13 financial year, as compared to 170 million tons in the previous fiscal, according to FIMI data.
Iron ore mining in Goa has been frozen owing to unresolved environmental clearances. The Supreme Court has permitted the mining of iron ore at 18 category-A mines in Karnataka. “Re-starting operations at a mine is a mammoth task and requires several clearances, and the entire process could take about a year, adding to the industry’s woes,” Poddar said.