SAIL seeks Odisha government nod to sell its unused Iron Ore fines in the open market
Bhubaneswar: The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has approached the government of Odisha to allow it to sell the unutilized Iron Ore fines dumped at its mines in the open market. The move if materialized could meet, to some extent, the raw material demand of the Steel industry, which is anticipating Iron Ore shortage after March 2020.
According to reports, SAIL has approached the government of Odisha through the Ministry of Steel, Government of India. The public sector steel major has 12 captive mines in states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. As per one estimate, about 70 Million Tonnes of Iron Ore fines dumped in various captive mines of SAIL for the last several decades and are creating environmental issues in the nearby areas.
SAIL is not able to utilize these iron ore fines as it has not enough beneficiation capacity and pelletization plant. So the steel plants run by SAIL will not be able to consume these raw materials. The stocks have also occupied huge areas and posing environmental hazards.
With steel industry is likely to face Iron Ore scarcity in the coming month due to expiry and auction of mining leases, the Steel Ministry expects that these fines would fulfill the raw material demand of the plants to some extent.
SAIL is needed to dispose off ‘As Is Where Is’ Basis so that it will serve twin purpose of reducing pollution hazard and increase availability of iron ore fines in the market in Post March 2020, when there will be acute shortage of raw materials for the Steel Makers.
Meanwhile, the Odisha Government will have to consult Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) for allowing disposal of iron ore fines by the SAIL authorities. As royalty of these metals are estimated on the basis of Fe content, IBM and State Government will have to be satisfied on this count so that disposal will be possible. Ministry of Steel has earlier urged the State Government to allow SAIL to sale 25 Percent of its iron ore fines in Open Market.