Iron ore imports hit record 8.05 mt in 2014

India has turned into a net importer of iron ore as imports far exceeded outward shipments in calendar year 2014.

Domestic steel majors such as JSW Steel, Tata Steel, and Essar Steel chose to import high-quality ore available at almost the same cost as the lower-grade material produced domestically.

A total of 8.05 million tonnes (mt) of the key steel-making raw material was imported during the year as against the export of around 7 mt. The previous record was touched in 2012 when 3.1 mt was imported.

Lack of stock in the domestic market and falling prices abroad encouraged ore-starved mills to source imported material.

Domestic production has steadily declined from a high of 220 mt in FY10 to about 150 mt in FY14.

Ore imports in 2013 stood at a meager 1.2 mt, after plunging from the previous record of 3.1 mt in 2012.

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