Santosh Patnaik

Issue figures at Parliamentary committee meet

China does not want to tap its own reserves

Steel majors in expansion mode

VISAKHAPATNAM: Steel majors including Steel Authority of India Limited and Visakhapatnam Steel Plant have intensified lobbying for allowing export of iron ore only after meeting domestic requirement.

At the recent meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Steel, majority favoured a ban on exports as the domestic steel producers are having a tough time in sourcing the basic raw material.

The country has 23 billion tonnes of reserves of which 923 million tonnes is of high-grade quality.

India is the third largest iron ore producer after Australia and Brazil. The country is exporting 90 million tonnes of superior grade leaving about 70 to 75 million tonnes for the domestic steel plants.

Keeping in view long-term interest, there is an overwhelming demand to ban exports. China is the largest buyer. Though there is some effect in lifting stocks from India following imposition of a levy of Rs.300 on each tonne of exported iron ore from the new financial year, China does not want to tap its own reserves like the US which preserves its oil reserves for posterity.

Boom in production

There is boom in steel production in the country with VSP, SAIL, Jindal South West and other steel majors on expansion mode and Posco, Tata, Brahmani Steels and others with proposals for setting up mega plants.

As part of National Steel Policy, the target for the country has been revised to achieve a production of 80 million tonnes from 65 million by 2010 and 200 million tonnes by 2020.

Union Minister for Steel and Mines Ramvilas Paswan also favoured putting curbs on exports and agreed with the view that meeting the domestic requirement ought to be given topmost priority.