'Govt must rescue sponge iron biz'

Rao said, “The sponge iron industry is facing raw material shortages, which is affecting its functioning. The industry is unable to procure the main raw material, iron ore, which otherwise, is in abundance in the state.”

“The total iron ore required by the industry is 10-12 metric tonnes per annum, but the industry is starved, receiving only a bare 25 per cent of the requirement,” he said.

Rao explained that even coking coal, another essential requirement for the industry, is in short supply. He demanded that the State and central governments should take positive steps of allotting captive mining leases to the existing sponge iron industry within Karnataka and the allotment should be commensurate with the size and capacity and prospects of expansion of the sponge iron ore industry.

The sponge iron industry in the state produces 12,600 tonnes per day, which is a production of 4 to 5 million tonnes per annum, with an installed capacity of the 70 plants with an investment of around Rs 15,000 crore.

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