NMDC digs a new high, iron ore production crosses 30-mt mark

Written by Prashant Mukherjee | Subhash Narayan | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 3 2014, 08:46am hrs
At a time when the country is facing several hindrances in mining activities, NMDC, the largest state-run iron ore miner, has recorded the highest level of production of 30.18 million tonne for FY14. The company reported a 11% jump in production this year. The despatches or actual sales of ore also registered an 18% growth to 30.88 million tonne.

This year we have surpassed the 30-million tonne mark on production of iron ore in the company's history and we have kept a target of 31 mt for FY15, C S Verma, NMDC chairman told FE.

NMDC has kept prices for both lump and fines unchanged for March with the global rates falling to its lowest in the last nine months. The international iron ore prices have come down sharply at $110/tonnes from the highest level of $135/tonne, Verma said. The lump price is kept at Rs 4,500 per tonne.

The company is also bullish about the growth prospect in current financial year and has accordingly decided to scale up capex by 74% to Rs 4,345 crore.

Even in 2013-14, NMDC spent Rs 2,500 towards capex, much higher than the targeted level of Rs 2,720 crore. NMDC is still the largest iron ore producer in Karnataka, which remain unaffected from mining ban in the state, producing close to 9 million tonnes of ore from its two mines - Kumaraswamy and Donimalai.

The state is currently producing 15 million tonnes of iron ore against the total demand of around 35 million tonnes from 20 operational mines. Next year, the state production will go up to 28-30 million tonnes, and our production will be around 14-15 million tonnes, Verma added.

Over the last few years, there has been a decline in production and exports of iron ore. The production has come down from 219 million tonnes in 2010-11 to 140 million tonnes in 2013-14 and exports have fallen 117 million tonnes during 2010-11 to 62 million tonnes in 2012-13.

Iron ore exports from India witnessed a 27.56% slump at 12.57 million tonnes (MT) during the April-February period of the current fiscal due to continuation of the export duty, according to data provided by mineral industries body FIMI.

Exports have declined continuously in last few years due to imposition of 30% export duty,Verma said. Economic activities in the mining areas have come to a grinding halt after the Supreme Court put a ban on mining in Goa. For Goa, there is zero mining as the ban continues to be in force. Before the ban, Goa used to export over 40 million tonnes iron ore as the low quality of ore produced in the state was not of much use for domestic steel producers. Goa exports 70.08% of India's iron ore.