Mumbai: Iron ore exports may remain in the range of 8-9 million tonnes in the next financial year and the country may become a net importer of the commodity, an industry official said.
"Exports will not go beyond single digit figure in the next financial year, while imports are likely to be in the double digits, making the country a net importer of iron ore," Vice-President of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), Basant Poddar told PTI over the weekend.
The ban on mining in many producing regions like Karnataka, Goa and Odisha has impacted iron ore exports, resulting in a drop of 68.27 percent in shipments during the April-January period of the current fiscal to 16.34 million tonnes.
The country is likely to import around 20 million tonnes of the commodity in the current financial year due to insufficient availability of ore in the country.
Referring to production in the next fiscal, Poddar said that it would not be more than 120 million tonne.
"It will take 2-3 years to normalise the operations," he said.
On specific producing zones, Poddar said Karntaka was likely to produce 4-5 million tonne in the next fiscal excluding the production of the state-run NMDC.
Mining operations in many regions like Karnataka, Goa and Odisha had been halted in the last two years due to investigations into illegal mining operations.
This has reflected in the recent index of industrial production (IIP) figures with contraction of 4 percent in mining output for December, 2012 as compared to 3.3 percent in the same month in 2011, while the IIP for December, 2012 shrunk at (-) 0.6 percent.
"Things have bottomed out in the iron ore mining industry. I think, there will be growth from here onwards," Poddar said. PTI
First Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013, 18:00