Metals & Mining News

iron ore: Debate emerges over iron ore export ban amidst clashes between steelmakers


Iron ore mining companies and steelmakers that do not have captive mines are at loggerheads over the export of the raw material, in a bid to safeguard their interests.

Secondary steel producers from Odisha and Chhattisgarh have pitched for an “immediate ban on iron ore exports” as the outflow of raw materials is putting pressure on their industry. The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, representing iron ore producers, has opposed any such move.

A third grouping, comprising primary steel producers, has called for import restrictions on finished steel products but maintain silence over the suggestions for export duty on iron ore. “While raw material (iron ore) prices are rising domestically, imports of steel from China have also surged this fiscal. Bharat needs to safeguard its Aatmanirbharta in steel by curbing imports,” said a representative from the Indian Steel Association, whose members include the country’s top steelmakers. Most primary steel producers source all the iron ore they need from their captive mines. Others meet part of their raw material requirement from the open market.

In representations to the government, the Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association said the target of having 300 million tonnes of annual steel production by 2030, “faces a critical challenge due to the export of iron ore”. According to the association, its members, 5,000 secondary steel units, are requesting for an immediate ban on iron ore exports.

This demand is seconded by the Orissa Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association, which stated that there is an “imminent threat” to raw material resources for steel production by its members. India currently has a capacity to produce a little over 150 million tonnes of primary steel a year. Odisha accounts for more than half of the country’s iron ore production, followed by Chhattisgarh.

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