SC seeks steel ministry’s response on iron ore pellets export


The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the steel ministry on an application by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, Southern Region (FIMI South), seeking to export iron ore pellets produced in Karnataka’s Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts.

A Bench led by justice Ranjan Gogoi sought response from the ministry after senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for FIMI, submitted that production has crossed a stage where exports could now begin.

The ban was earlier imposed as there was not enough production, and now that iron ore production has increased, exports can also begin, Rohatgi said, adding that the central and the state governments are also supporting the mining industry body’s claim.

The SC-appointed central empowered committee had in June recommended to the SC to allow export of pellets.

“Value-added products produced from iron ore mined in Karnataka do not face any export restriction. Accordingly, there is absolutely no reason why pellets alone should be subject to discriminatory export restriction as compared to intermediate products such as sponge iron, direct reduced iron, etc,” FIMI said.

“Despite facing a grim economic situation where pelletisation plants are unable to sell pellets in the domestic market, they are now being prevented from exporting pellets even though the Supreme Court did not impose a ban on export of pellets,” it added.


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