`Iron ore reserves must be preserved'

Staff Correspondent

Likely to get exhausted in 20 years: Jindal

HUBLI: Sajjan Jindal, vice-chairman and managing director, JWS Steels, on Thursday said that according to a study, going by the present rate of iron ore exports, reserves of the ore would be exhausted in nineteen to twenty years even if exports were stopped immediately.

Mr. Jindal told presspersons that several Chief Ministers of various States, including the Chief Minister of Karnataka, had written to the Government of India to stop iron ore exports. However, no action had been taken to preserve iron ore reserves for the infrastructure needs of the country.

Apart from countries such as Australia, Brazil and Canada, that have mineral reserves more than 20 per cent of what was available in India, no country was exporting iron ore. The Government of India was allowing the mining and export of iron ore without value additioneven when it is getting only paltry sum as royalty.

Revenue would increase manifold if the ore export was stopped and steps for value addition were taken, he added.

Last year, the country exported 100 million tonnes of iron ore of which the Government got a royalty of Rs. 289 crore. However, if the ore was used to make steel in India, because of value addition, the country would have got Rs. 35,000 crore as revenue, he added.

Steel plants in the country would soon have to import iron ore , he said. The ruckus over illegal mining was merely a ploy to create an opinion that illegal mining was affecting the exchequer, but legal mining was also responsible for this, he said.

Mr. Jindal said the company had plans to increase production to 10 million tonnes by 2010.

He said his company would consider Hubli for its next all-woman BPO unit.

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