The government has allowed Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) to sell 25 per cent of its iron ore production from captive mines and dispose off another 70 million tonnes of low-grade iron ore dust and fines accumulated over the years in open market.
An official statement said on Tuesday that the Ministry of Mines has allowed SAIL to sell up to 25 per cent of total iron ore production in the previous year subject to clearance from the respective state governments where the mines are located after following due procedure.
This implies that about seven million tonnes of iron ore produced at its different mines in Jharkhand, Odisha and Chattisgarh can be offloaded by SAIL in the domestic market.
The order is valid for a period of two years. This will enable SAIL to not only fulfil its own requirement, but also to partially cater to shortfall in domestic iron ore requirement.
"Ensuring raw material security for Indian steel industry has been at the top of our agenda," said Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan.
"Our government has taken several efforts towards this. The orders passed by the Ministry of Mines is an important step in this direction," he added.
As per provision of Section 8A(6) of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957, the lease of 31 working mines of iron ore is expiring on March 31 next year. After the expiry, it is expected to lead to a shortfall of 60 million tonnes of iron ore in the market.
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