Kolkata March 14 Expressing serious concern over increasing iron ore exports from India, Mr R.S. Pandey, Secretary, Ministry of Steel, told newspersons today that it would pose a threat and impact the growth of the domestic steel industry.
Mr Pandey was in the city for the inauguration of the Third Steel Task Force Meeting of the Asia Pacific on Clean Development and Climate.
According to him, there has been a steep rise in iron ore exports over the last few years.
From 41 million tonnes in 2001-02, exports of iron ore had gone up to 100 million tonnes, as per industry estimates.
Around 50 per cent of the iron ore exports were to China.
He said that iron ore should be made available to the domestic steel industry on a sustainable and long-term basis so that the growth rates pegged for the domestic steel industry during the 11th Five Year Plan Period could be achieved.
The Secretary was in favour of a cap on exports of iron ore; iron ore linkages would facilitate more investments in the steel sector, he said.
The use of iron ore fines in steel making in India is expected to pick up, he said, in response to the iron ore exporter lobby's contention that fines were hardly used in steel making by the domestic steel industry.
Steel production in India is expected to touch 50 million tonnes in 2006-07.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr S.K. Roongta, Chairman of SAIL, reiterated that iron ore exports should be restricted with a view to ensuring raw material security of the growing domestic steel industry.
He added that the growth in the steel sector in the years ahead would be faster than that recorded in the last 5-10 years.
Mr Sajjan Jindal, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of JSW Steel Ltd, said that the proposed duty of Rs 300 per tonne of iron ore exports was a "step in the right direction."