In Odisha, the Deputy Director of Mines (DDM), Joda circle, had banned the sale of iron ore fines to the sponge iron units a few months ago. According to them, the sponge iron manufacturing requires only large sized ore and hence the iron ore below 10 mm should not be sold to them. But recently the state government has allowed the sale of iron ore fines to the sponge iron manufacturers again but in a condition which says that they must sell the fines only to the domestic pellet units and must not export them.
India is the fourth largest Iron ore producers in the world. NMDC is one of the largest Iron ore mines of India with an annual production of over 27 MnT followed by SAIL with 24 MnT, Tata Steel with 15 MnT, Rungta Mines with 10 MnT and Sarda mines with around 7.8 MnT. Iron ore production in India has been declining since the ban imposed in Karnataka and Goa alleged for illegal mining operations. As per the Ministry of Mines, India’s overall production has plunged over 14% Y-o-Y to around 143 MnT in FY 13. Presently Odisha is the highest Iron ore producing states of India followed by Chhattisgarh.
Iron ore fines are extracted from the Iron ore mines which are available naturally in the form of Rock Mountains in some parts of the world. The ores are rich in Iron oxides. Iron ore is the raw material which is further processed to form pig Iron, which is used in making steel as one of the main components. Iron ore fines are of around 0-10 mm in size. 98% of the mined Iron ore is used to make steel. It is been argued that Iron ore is more integral to the global economy than any other commodity, except perhaps oil. Ore with Fe% more than 60% can be fed directly into Iron-making Blast Furnace.