New Delhi: India’s iron ore output surged 27% to 154.48 million tonnes during April-January of this fiscal following lifting of the mining ban. It stood at 122 mt in the same period of 2015-16.

“The country’s iron ore production has increased significantly to 154.48 mt during April-January of 2016-17. The percentage increase is 26.63% while in value terms, the increase is 7.79%," mines secretary Arun Kumar said.

The total value of the ore produced during the 10 months stood at Rs19,417 crore. Iron ore output had nosedived with an average annual contraction of 9.4% in 2012-16 following the mining ban in the three largest iron-ore producing states — Goa, Odisha and Karnataka — which has since been lifted.

Mining player Vedanta had recently said the worst phase for the domestic iron ore industry was over and exuded confidence that its Goa arm was prepared to sustain the export momentum amid softening global prices and subdued demand.

A Fitch arm last month said the country’s iron ore output is projected to grow to 185 mt in the next four years.

“We forecast India’s iron ore output to grow from 136 mt in 2017 to 185 mt in 2021," said BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group.

Iron ore shipments handled by the country’s 12 major ports had soared 169% to 38.61 mt in April-January of this fiscal.

These government-owned ports had handled 14.37 mt of the key steel-making raw material in the year-earlier period.

The Indian Ports Association (IPA), which maintains data on cargo handled by these 12 ports, in its recent report said iron ore handling was higher by 168.59% in the first 10 months of the current fiscal.

According to IPA, iron ore handling at the Mormugao port during the 10 months went up to 11.18 mt, from 2.29 mt a year ago, while the Visakhapatnam port saw a handling of 9.17 mt as against 4.39 mt.

In the Paradip Port, iron ore cargo came in higher at 8.51 mt as against 2.27 mt a year ago. India has 12 major ports — Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia), which handle approximately 61% of the country’s total cargo traffic.