Chhattisgarh seeks 5 MT iron ore, CM meets Steel Minister

Steel Minister, Mr Beni Prasad Verma
Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh

Fearing closure of iron and steel units in Chhattisgarh due to raw material shortage, Chief Minister, Mr Raman Singh, on Thursday called on Steel Minister, Mr Beni Prasad Verma, and sought doubling of iron ore supply to 5 million tonnes (MT) from National Mineral Development Corporation.

“Chhattisgarh is facing a crisis. Our iron and steel mills are on the verge of closure. We have sought the Centre's intervention for doubling it to 5 MT from present 2.5 MT on priority basis,” Mr Singh said after meeting Mr Verma here.

All major iron ore deposits in the State are with NMDC, which is producing about 30 MT per annum, but a major part is either exported or supplied to industries outside Chhattisgarh while the industry in state is on the verge of closure, he said.

“Also, there is a substantial increase in the capacity of all units over the years in the State,” he said, adding that Mr Verma had assured that the concerns of the industry in the State would be addressed.

Mr Verma said a meeting has been convened next week in this connection and the Centre would extend full cooperation to the State so that interests of units there is not hurt.

At present, there are about 100 sponge and iron manufacturing units in the private sector in the State with a production capacity of over 12 MTPA.

The units used to get a part of their iron ore from other States. With restrictions put on the movement of ore in some parts recently, these units have been left with no option than to depend on NMDC, which is the country's largest iron ore miner.

The plant owners had sought State Government's help to prevent closure of mills after dozens of mini steel plants had suspended production amid raw material shortage.

Earlier, mining was banned in Karnataka's Bellary region by the Supreme Court in July due to environmental degradation of the area, which led to a severe shortage of iron ore in the country, as Bellary accounts for about 40 MTPA.

A partial relief provided by the apex court on August 5, which allowed only NMDC to mine 12MTPA of ore from there could not help much.

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