India's Jharkhand state orders closure of some iron ore mines

jueves 11 de septiembre de 2014 06:04 GYT

Sept 11 (Reuters) - India's Jharkhand state has ordered the closure of 12 out of its 17 iron ore mines because their leases have expired, dealing a fresh blow to local steelmakers, some of which have been forced to import the raw material due to short supplies at home.

Mining curbs in India in states such as Goa and Karnataka along with mine closures in top producing Odisha have limited iron ore availability in the country, opening the door to more imports this year, which could help absorb some of the surplus in global supply.

Jharkhand was India's third-biggest iron ore producer in the fiscal year to March, with output of around 21 million tonnes. The shut mines, including those of steel majors Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), accounted for around 19 million tonnes.

"They have sent notice to close 12 mines. These include mines of Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India Limited," an official of the Jharkhand state government said by phone from the capital Ranchi.

The notice was issued last week, he said, declining to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Asked when the mines would resume operations, the official said: "It depends on the government's policy."

Another official from the state government confirmed the mine closures.

In May, India's Supreme Court ordered the temporary closure of 26 out of 56 operating mines in Odisha, also due to non-renewal of mining leases.

Eight of those mines in Odisha have since reopened, including the captive mines of Tata Steel, SAIL and state-owned Odisha Mining Corp, said Dhruv Goel, managing partner at industry consultancy SteelMint, based in Odisha.   Continuación...