India needs to curb the export of its iron ore reserves which are required in huge quantity to meet the projected steel production in the country, according to an industry expert.

“Increasing exports of iron ore is a disturbing trend. Exports should be banned. We don’t need to export something which God has given to us,” Amit Chatterjee, advisor to Managing Director of Tata Steel Ltd, said here.

Addressing a gathering of stakeholders in world steel industry at the ‘Global Steel Conference’, currently underway here, he advised restrain on overseas sale of iron ore.

“Restrict export of higher grade iron ore. Lower grade is a different issue,” he said last evening, delivering a talk on “Challenges and opportunities before Indian steel industry in the changed global economic scenario“.

The conference, fifth in the series, has been organised by Gujarat NRE and The Economic Times.

Foreseeing a great future for the domestic steel industry, Mr. Chatterjee said “India will have a greater usage of steel in general.”

“There will also be increased usage of steel in construction and boom in automobile industry will add to the demand,” Mr. Chatterjee, who has been awarded fellowship of Imperial College, London for his outstanding capabilities in the field, said.

“Every car maker in the world is in India and more are coming (leading to increase in steel demand),” he stated.

Mr. Chatterjee said India has the advantages of low cost iron ore and lower labour cost, which present domestic market with a vast growth potential.

He, however, rued that the domestic industry players have no big aspirations. “Indian steel industry is facing its own challenges.”

Projecting that India’s steel manufacturing capacity would touch 100 MT by 2012, he said the raw material supply, environment responsibility and lack of qualified personnel are the challenges before the industry.

“Youngsters prefer IT to steel industry as it pays well. Working in steel industry is not considered fashionable.”

The option before the steel industry is to train the required manpower, Mr. Chatterjee said.

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