Kolkata: The Steel Ministry on 14 March expressed its deep concern over the rise in iron ore exports, which could pose a serious threat to the growth of domestic industry.
Steel Secretary R S Pandey said that the ministry had taken up the matter with the government, following which the issue is now being dealt with by the Group of Ministers (GoM).
He said there had been a phenomenal rise in iron ore exports over the last few years. “Exports should not take place at the cost of the domestic industry,” he said.
From 41 million tonnes in 2001-02, iron ore exports had more than doubled to 100 million tonnes as per latest estimates, Pandey said.
Pandey said the ministry is of the view that iron ore that is being exported should be made available to the domestic industry on a long-term basis to support the growth, which was estimated to be in the range of 11-12% during the 11th Five Year Plan.
On the issue of iron ore linkages, he said this is also an important matter as huge quantum of investments would flow into the steel sector once this is properly addressed.
By year 2015-16, India would be the second largest steelmaker in the world, Pandey said.
He also appreciated the role of the private sector whose contribution in domestic production is 60%.
During the current financial year, India’s total steel production would be 50 million tonnes, as compared to 45 million tonnes in the last fiscal.
Besides the ministry, private and public sector steel companies also echoed the same concern over iron ore exports.
Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) chairman S K Roongta said it is necessary to conserve the mineral for the growth of the steel industry.
JSW Steel’s vice-chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal said that the imposition of export duty on iron ore exports is a step in the right direction.