‘Government considering ban on iron ore exports’ (Lead)June 1st, 2008 - 10:33 am ICT by admin
Jamshedpur, May 31 (IANS) The government is considering a ban on iron ore exports as demanded by the steel makers, steel secretary R.S. Pandey has said. “We are looking into the issue,” Pandey said here Saturday on the sidelines of the commissioning ceremony of Tata Steel’s ‘H’ blast furnace.
In New Delhi, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath Friday indicated a possible roll-back of export duty on steel and other measures to contain inflation.
Steel imports jumped by 46 percent in 2007-08. During that period, India imported seven million tonnes of steel and exported five million tonnes.
Pointing at the slow pace of steel production in the country, Pandey said the government would take steps to facilitate expeditious addition to steel capacity, which was estimated to touch 124 million tonnes by 2011-12.
According to him, the rise in steel prices was mainly due to the hike in the costs of raw materials like iron ore and coking coal.
“India has emerged as a net importer of steel for the first time in 2007-08 and the situation is going to worsen in the next two to three years,” he observed.
He said all estimates concerning consumption and production of steel have gone wrong. “All roadblocks would have to be removed,” he said and hoped that by 2015-16 India would emerge as the second biggest steel producer in the world.
Tata Steel managing director B. Muthuraman said India may have to import 25 million tonnes of steel within the next five years if the present demand-supply mismatch continues.
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