Mines Ministry favours continuing with iron ore exports

Mines Ministry favours continuing with iron ore exports

"In 2009-10, only 90 million tonnes of iron ore were consumed out of 218 million tonnes produced. Whereas, 128 million tonnes of iron ore were exported. Thus, there is a surplus production of iron ore," B K Handique, Minister of Mines, said in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

Most of the exported iron ore is in the form of iron ore fines for which Indian does not have any technology to process it, the Minister said.

"So, in that case what we can do. If we do not export the produced fines, which are generated as part of the mining process, it would result in pollution and impede the mining process.

"Therefore, the immediate need is to develop a technology that process the iron ore fines. Sudden stoppage of production of iron ore, as result of ban on exports, would also give a rise to loss of employment," Handique said.

A Group of Ministers has been constituted to consider Draft Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2010 and is likely to submit its recommendations soon.
As far as conflicting views of different ministries are concerned, the Minister said there are different views expressed by various ministries based on their perception.

"My Ministry has, however, kept an open mind and whatever decision is taken, we shall abide by it. But our only concern is that there must be a technology to process iron ore fines in the country so that we could create an environment for employment," he said.

A member had pointed out that the Steel and Law Ministries were in favour of banning the exports iron ore, while the Commerce Ministry was for continuing with exports and the Finance Ministry was neuteral on the matter.

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