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Steel secy for ore export curbs

business Updated: Jul 15, 2010 00:25 IST

The country's iron ore exports should be kept to a minimum so that the non-renewable raw material can be preserved for the local industry, steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi told a television channel on Wednesday.

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"We don't have any numbers in mind, but we want minimal exports to be done," Atul Chaturvedi said on CNBC TV 18, highlighting the need to preserve the raw material to meet the country's growing steel demand and infrastructure development.

On Tuesday, a newspaper report had quoted Chaturvedi as saying a full ban on iron ore exports was needed.

India's growing steel industry has frequently lobbied for a complete ban on iron ore export or at least for further raising the export duty on the raw material so that more of the commodity is available for local use at low prices.

India last raised the export duty on iron ore lumps to 15 per cent in April from 10 per cent earlier.

India exports about half of its total iron ore output mainly to China that houses the world's largest steel industry.

In the previous fiscal year that ended in March, the country produced 226 million tonnes of iron ore, compared with 215 million tonnes in the previous year, the mines ministry data showed.