Around 25 are still awaiting various approvals from the authorities

Despite the Supreme Court allowing resumption of mining in Karnataka this April, only a dozen mines have managed to resume till now. Around 25 are still awaiting various approvals from the authorities. The delay is crippling both the mining and steel industry in Karnataka. As things stand, the steady supply of iron ore seems far away.

There's good news in store for Karnataka's ore-starved steel industry. The Supreme Court-appointed Cental Monitoring Committee (CEC) is set to e-auction low-grade iron ore dumps.

SC had allowed these mines to resume operations subject to statutory conditions in order dated April 18

In what could be considered as fresh trouble brewing for the iron and steel sector in Karnataka, the mines and geology department, government of Karnataka, has recommended premature termination of 14 iron ore mining leases from Categories A and B in the state.

Ore major keeping domestic price lower than landed cost of import; falling rupee does not come to rescue as international ore prices have also softened

The rupee slide could result in a rise of the steel industry's import bill for key inputs, like coke. But, for now, it is unlikely to alter the equation for those depending on import of iron ore. The recent fall in iron ore prices in the international market has offset the slide in the rupee.

The company's head office will decide on the location and exact investment required for the backward integration project

Bangalore-based electronics division (EDN) of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has proposed to set up a backward integrated project for its solar photovoltaic panel business. The company has planned to set up an integrated manufacturing facility for ingots to wafers, cells and panels using crystalline photovoltaic technology.

Steel mills still operating at 50% capacity due to shortage in supply of iron ore

Restoration of normalcy in supply of iron ore to steel mills in and around Karnataka might take more time if the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) accepts the request for reclassification of mines. Currently, CEC, following the Supreme Court's direction, is looking into the appeal of the main petitioner, Samaj Parivartan Samudaya (SPS), in the public interest litigation against illegal mining, for reclassification of mining leases based on the extent of several illegalities committed by them.

Exports of iron ore are likely to fall further during the next financial year (2013-14) and touch a record low, as Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal ignored the demand for a level field in the freight rates charged on movement of iron ore for domestic use and exports. There is already an export cess of 30 per cent on iron ore as a dampener.

In 2008-09, iron ore exports were at a record 110 million tonnes (mt), which have fallen to just 15 mt in the current financial year till November. The industry estimates that since government policies remain non-conducive, exports next year could be in single digit, maybe a few million tonnes.

Supreme Court-appointed CEC recommends new system in order to facilitate speedy supply of iron ore to steel mills

In an attempt to speed up supply of iron ore to steel mills, the central empowered committee (CEC) has decided to conduct advance e-auction of iron ore produced by state-run miner NMDC Ltd. The CEC, in consultation with company officials, has finalised a detailed structure for advance e-auction, which will come into effect from March 8.

The Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee, which is supervising the e-auction of iron ore in Karnataka, is likely to bring iron ore dumps for auction later this month. The committee is awaiting final approval from the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to auction about six million tonnes (mt) of dumps.

“The assessment of dumps in Bellary district has been completed and it is estimated that about six mt of dumps could be auctioned. The CEC recently visited various mines in Bellary district and took on record the dumps available for auction. However, the grading of dumps is still to be completed and once that is done, the ore could be put on auction,” sources close to the development told Business Standard.

The R&R Plans have been prepared and approved by CEC for 51 mining leases comprising of 28 Category A and 23 Category B mining leases

The ore-starved steel mills in Karnataka have some sweet news to cheer as the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), has recommended the resumption of mining in all Category A mining leases. The CEC has also recommended that the court may consider permitting the resumption of mining operations in Category B mining leases subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.