No need to cap iron ore prices, plan to expand output: Govt
The mines ministry on Monday said it has no plans to cap the prices of iron ore as there is no shortage of the key steel-making raw material.
It also said the country is looking at expanding the iron ore production and that will take care of market dynamics.
"There is no shortage of iron ore and at present there is no thinking in the mines ministry of capping of iron ore prices," Mines Secretary Arun Kumar said at a press conference here.
"Mines of ministry does not have a plan of fixation for iron ore prices. They (Mines Ministry) are the administrative ministry," Kumar said. NMDC is the country s single-largest iron ore producer.
"It's an open market. Our approach in this whole thing is that we want to expand the iron ore production and that itself will take care of market dynamics," said Piyush Goyal, the minister of state for power, coal, new and renewable energy and mines said.
He was addressing the media on the achievements of this ministries in the last three years. Kumar said that the country produced 129 MT of iron ore in 2014-15, 156 MT in 2015-2016 and 192 MT in 2016-17.
"The iron ore production has been going up. We are focusing on that. In the last two-three years we have gone up from 129 million tonnes to 156 MT to 192 MT in the last year (fiscal)," he said.
"Our's (iron ore) is growing by 22 per cent and the steel is growing by 8 per cent. So where is the shortage?," he questioned. The government had earlier formed a panel under the chairmanship of additional secretary steel on iron pricing.
The panel also has members from ministries like coal and mines. An official on the conditions of anonymity said that mines ministry has recently given its view to the steel ministry that there was no necessity at this time to control price of iron ore. The mines ministry, the official said, has also cited reasons for the same.
"We have given our view that there is no necessity at this time (for controlling the prices of iron ore). We have given reasons," the official added.
"There is no need to fix the price of iron ore. It is a free market. It is not a regulated market. We cannot go back to the pre 1990- 1991 era," the official added.