The Supreme Court lifting the ban on mining in Goa will not ease the shortage of iron ore that steel industries in Karnataka are facing, according to Vinod Nowal, deputy managing director of JSW Steel.

Dr. Nowal told presspersons at the steel plant at Torangal in Bellary district on Wednesday that iron ore available in Goa, which was a little above grade 51, was not suitable for beneficiation. Moreover, logistics to get iron ore from Goa to here was another problem, he said.

“As the railway line between Bellary and Goa (Vasco) was saturated with the transportation of coal, fertilizer and foodgrains, plying of additional rakes loaded with iron ore was not possible. Moreover, the ore from Goa cannot be used for beneficiation,” he said.

According to him, the iron ore requirement of steel industries in Karnataka was around 36 million tonnes a year while the Supreme Court had limited ore production to 30 million tonnes. With the leases of 50 mines, listed in category ‘C’ by the Supreme Court, having been cancelled and only 24 mines having started operation (a few more are likely to resume mining after getting clearances from the authorities), industries in the State were facing severe shortage of iron ore.

He said there was a need to grant fresh lease for mining in view the demand and as the State government was yet to complete auctioning of ‘C’ category mines.

To a question, he said JSW Steel had been sourcing its requirement of iron ore through e-auction and about 20 to 25 per cent of its requirement was being sourced from Odisha and Jharkhand.

On hold

“We have put on hold the expansion plan of our plant to achieve [the production target of] 16 million tonnes from the present 10 million tonnes until we are granted captive mines,” he said, and added that the investment proposed for the expansion was around Rs. 16,000 crore.

Keywords: Goa mining

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