"There are 37 units which are closed. Some of the units that have not closed down are operating at less than 25% capacity," said Seshagiri Rao, joint managing director, JSW Steel. "Even integrated steel plants like ours are facing shortages. Our plant is operating at just 68% capacity."
The industry has been facing shortages for well over a year after a Supreme Court ruling banned all iron ore mining activity in view of rampant illegal mining and disregard for environmental concerns. Only NMDC was allowed to operate at 12 million tonnes per annum.
"NMDC is not producing at the permitted levels of 12 million tonne per annum. In fact, it is operating at less than half the threshold," said Suketu Shah, joint MD, Mukand Steel. "It has also ignored international market rates and charging higher prices, making things difficult for us."
NMDC's recent two e-auctions of iron ore got less than 7% offtake as industry has stayed away due to high prices.
"In the last few auctions, the offtake has been less than 7%," said RK Goyal, MD, Kalyani Steels. "It shows that the price is too high even for the industry that is starved of iron ore."