New Delhi: The iron ore requirement of the state-run Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) from the Chiria mines in Jharkhand should be fully before any of its portion is given out to private steel manufacturers, said the union steel ministry on Friday.
Replying to supplementaries during question hour, steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan said of the 10 iron ore mines in Chiria, only one has till now been allocated to SAIL.
Chiria mines have 4 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves, he told.
Adding, he said, the Jharkhand Chief Minister has been asked to “fulfill the demand of SAIL before giving (any of the mines) to private companies.”
He did not name any private company interested in Chiria mines.
Public sector companies, he said, had a balancing role to play and their requirements needs to be nurtured.
Currently, of the 56 million tonnes of steel production, only 30% comes from public sector companies.
Paswan said his ministry was of the opinion that high-quality iron ore should be discouraged from exports so as to meet the future requirement of the mineral for steel production.
Of the 200 million tonnes of iron ore produced, 95 million tonnes are consumed by domestic firms and the rest is exported.
India is believed to have 25 billion tonnes of iron ore resources but only 7 billion tonnes have been classified as explorable reserves. Of these, 1.93 billion tonnes are high-grade iron ore reserves.
Steel production in the country would rise to 124 million tonnes by 2012-13 from current 56 million tones, he added.