Steel major JSW Steel imported its first iron ore shipment of 170,000 tonnes last week from South Africa. Three more shipments of iron ore are to reach Indian ports in the next few days, the company said in a statement.
With the supply of iron ore getting tight, JSW Steel had decided to import around 6 million tonnes of iron ore in the current fiscal from overseas markets.
“These imports are necessary for it to supplement the supplies of iron ore in the domestic market due to a substantial drop in domestic production besides restrictions on movement of iron ore from one State to another State,” the statement said.
There was a sharp drop in capacity utilisation in the Indian steel industry in FY14 to 77 per cent from 88 per cent in FY11, JSW Steel said, adding that India’s iron ore production fell from a level of 218 million tonnes in FY10 to 144 million tonnes in FY14 and is expected to drop further to 100 million tonnes in FY15 against a demand of 140 million tonnes.
“The recent closure of mines in Odisha, delay in opening up of mines in Karnataka and Goa has resulted in acute shortage of iron ore in the country,’’ Seshagiri Rao, joint MD, JSW Steel, said in a statement, adding “We have decided to import half a million tonnes of high-grade ore every month to maintain the capacity utilisation at optimum level. The surging iron ore prices due to shortages in India is a matter of grave concern when international iron ore prices dropped by more than 30 per cent in the last twelve months.’’