Apex mineral body FIMI Thursday sought government support to open up Karnataka's iron ore-rich mining industry, which cannot export the mineral due to a Supreme Court ruling.
In this regard, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) said it has also written letters to Ministries of Steel, Mines, Commerce and the NITI Aayog.
India has set up a target to ramp up its steel-making capacity to 300 million tonne (MT) by 2030-31, FIMI said, adding that in order to achieve this aim, the country would also need proportionate quantity of raw materials like iron ore and coal.
"Iron ore is abundantly available in India. Going by the latest United Nations classification framework, India has proven reserve of 28 billion tonnes of iron ore... and Karnataka is one of the major iron ore producing states. At present, it (Karnataka) cannot export iron ore due to a Supreme Court ruling," FIMI said in a statement.
The body said it requests the government to take immediate steps so that iron ore export can take place.
This way Karnataka will also be able to contribute to the 300 million tonne steel production target as most of the steel plants are based out of Karnataka, FIMI said.
Even though there is enough iron ore in India, import is still is taking place, the body said, adding that a steel plant in Karnataka is also buying iron ore from outside the state.
The low import duty of 2.5 per cent on iron ore is also pushing steel plants to bring in shiploads of iron ore from other countries.
"We welcome... the steps taken by the government to limit the fall in value of the rupee against US dollar. FIMI would also like to invite the centre's attention to certain facts requiring urgent remedial measures," the body said in the letter.
The import of iron ore is also "non-essential" for the economy since domestic ore production is well in excess if domestic consumption.
Export of iron ore from Karnataka can help government in checking current account deficit (CAD), and government must take appropriate steps to encourage export of iron ore from the state, the letter said.
FIMI has also demanded an increase in import duty on iron ore and iron ore pellets to 30 per cent to check imports.
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