THE battle for controlling iron ore resources in the country is far from over. After the steel industry's demand for further curbs on iron ore exports, the mining industry has come up to rebut claims that ore exports would diminish country's resources which are required for value addition within the country. The industry under the aegis of Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) has written to prime minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram seeking removal of export duty on iron ore that had affected their plans for expansion, exploration and value addition. "The imposition of export duty had affected the plans to start value-addition of iron ore into pellet, sponge iron, pig iron as well as integrated steel mills,' FIMI secretary general R K Sharma told ET. "We have sought audience with both the prime minister and the finance minister to apprise them of the negative impact of the recently imposed duty on the industry,' Mr Sharma explained. The latest move of the mining industry comes after an onslaught of sorts by the steel industry which has succeeded in getting the steel ministry to suggest shifting the present fixed rate export duty on ore to an ad valorem system with 10-15% duty for inclusion in this year's budget. According to FIMI, the claims of steel industry that resources would vanish in no time if export curbs are not introduced are far fetched. "The current iron ore resources of about 25 billion tonne will last for 75-85 years as steel production touches 200 million tonne (MT) by 2020. With more exploration, introduction of technology to treat lower grade ore and increased use of scrap, the resource cycle could be increased by another 125-150 years. Moreover, the vast magnetite iron ore in the country can be beneficiated for use by the steel sector as is being done in Australia, Brazil, China and even USA,' FIMI has said in its note on vibrant iron ore industry. The mining industry has also said that India could only increase its resource by 50% in last 25 years, but countries like Brazil have increased its production ten times in the same period. "If India also increases spending on exploration from a mere $ 5 million annually to a level of $ 500 million in Australia or even to $ 150 million in Brazil, we could add another 20 to 25 billion tonne of resource," the FIMI note has said . The mining industry has also said it is largely exporting ore that is not used by the steel industry. "Let me clear one thing that steel sector is not interested in lowgrade iron ore

Villagers in Kinnanore in Kerala's Kasaragod district called off a month-long agitation against bauxite mining. They relented on January 12 after Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan assured them that the sanction to the mines would be revoked. "The people, the panchayat and the political parties do not want this project,' said Achuthanandan.

On November 23, the Supreme Court of India refused to permit Vedanta Alumina Limited to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills. Many have interpreted it as a blanket refusal to mining in the hills.

January 2, 2006. At least 13 tribal people and a policeman were killed in a clash at the Kalinganagar steel complex in Orissa's Jajpur district. The tribal people were protesting the construction of

Report>>Sponge Iron Industries

The industry has not taken adequate steps on the problems identified by the Board Officials during their visit to the industry from 2nd to 4th, Nov., 2007. It has also not complied to the points specified in Show Cause Notice and Directions issued by the Board. Some more problems like seepage/leakage from Dirty Water Pond, adjacent to Vanshadhara River have been identified.

For many years the IAEA has been supporting coordinated research within the framework of a project on

book>> Caterpillar and the Mahua Flower, Tremors in India's Mining Fields

M/s. Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. has filed an allplication before this Court seeking clearance of the proposal for use of 723.343 ha of land (including 58.943 ha of reserve forest land)in Lanjigarh Tehsil of Kalahandi District for setting up Alumia Refinery. The matter has been pending since 6.3.04.

With a view to assessing the potential environmental impacts due to proposed activities, M/s Sarda Energy & Minerals Ltd., retained M/s Anacon Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., Nagpur to undertake Environmental Impact Assessment studies. The report envisages the assessment of the impact of various environmental components and its mitigation measures in order to minimize the adverse impacts.