India’s OMDC to Hike Iron Ore, Manganese Output

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The government-controlled Orissa Mineral Development Corporation Limited (OMDC) has announced a plan to raise its iron ore and manganese ore production capacity to 10 million tons per year and one million tons per year, respectively, by 2015-16, reports Business Line.

OMDC, a subsidiary of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), has six mining leases with estimated reserves of 206 million tons of iron ore and 44 million tons of manganese ore.

Government-owned Eastern Investments Ltd. (EIL) is the holding company of OMDC, while RINL is the holding company of EIL.

In January 2011, RINL acquired a 51-percent stake in EIL, a holding company for OMDC and Bisra Stone Lime Corporation (BSLC), both mining companies holding iron ore, limestone, dolomite and manganese ore reserves.

Reports suggest that the iron ore output in India’s top-producing eastern state Odisha has slipped by 18 percent. Even still, the high and low prices of iron ore 58% fines from India have ranged between $130 and $135 per dry metric ton for the past several weeks, according to the MetalMiner IndX℠.

The iron ore production in the state declined nearly one-fifth to 60 million metric tons during 2011-12 against 73 million tons reported in the previous financial year.

Odisha produced about 75 million tons in 2010-11, a third of the country’s annual output of about 218 million tons.

A clampdown on iron ore mines has brought down the country’s total output for 2011-12. According to latest figures compiled by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), as against 208 million tons produced during 2010-11, the output for 2011-12 stood at 169.6 million tons.

According to IBM figures, Karnataka has seen the highest drop in production. As against 37 million tons, produced last year, the state’s output was only 13 million tons.

Maharashtra, which has a minor contribution, produced 1.4 million tons, but Chhattisgarh produced 30 million tons, recording a growth of 5 percent against the previous year. Goa produced 34 million tons, against 36 million tons in the year before.

Meanwhile, India had produced 2.8 million tons of manganese ore and imported 1.3 million tons in 2010-11. Exports were at a little over 800,000 tons.

The shortage of iron ore in India started after a decision by the Indian Supreme Court last August. The Court had banned mining operations in Karnataka following the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee.

However, in April this year, the court partially lifted the ban and it is believed that iron ore production by privately owned miners in Karnataka will likely resume by July 2012.

Karnataka accounts for a quarter of India’s iron ore output. The state produces 16 million tons of iron and steel in a year, which is a little less than 25 percent of the country’s total production.

Until last year, India had an iron ore surplus reversed, but now the country has slipped into deficit.

Recently, India has also registered a decrease in exports of iron ore, having exported 117.3 million tons in 2009-10. Exports had dipped by over 36 percent to 56 million tons in the April-February period last fiscal year against the prior year.


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