Good and Bad News From the Indian Iron Ore Sector – by Sohrab Darabshaw (Metal Miner – June 25, 2018)

For the first time in years, India’s iron ore production crossed the 200 million tons per annum (MTPA) milestone. For 2017-18, output touched 210 MT, mostly on increased production in the provinces of Odisha and Karnataka, which was 9% higher than the 192 MT produced in 2016-17.

This was also the first time crossing that threshold since the crackdown on illegal mining throughout the country. India had produced more than 200 MT in 2010-11 at the height of a mineral boom.

One of the contributing factors for higher ore output was the Supreme Court of India’s relaxations of the cap on iron ore excavations for Category A and B mines. The court shifted the cap from 30 MT to 35 MT in December 2017. State-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), however, had a flat growth rate in iron ore output at 35 MT in the last financial year.

All that may be cause for jubilation — but not every development on the iron ore front has not been good of late.

Take, for instance, the standoff between iron ore producers and steel plant owners in Karnataka over the high prices of the raw material. Miners are said to be contemplating moving the Supreme Court of India to seek permission to export iron ore for lack of buyers.

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