The Federal Steel Ministry, at variance with the Mining and Commerce Ministries, demanded that iron ore exports be phased out since "current ore reserve is slated to last only 60 to 70 years" and this policy could jeopardize the stability of domestic steel units.
Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that Indian production capacity was "rising" and given the finite supply and accessibility issues linked to ore mining, a better management of the supplies is required so the nation would not have "to borrow the mineral in times to come." Asserting that he did not want to jeopardize the mining industry, he said the interests of Indian steel industry must not be sacrificed to suit short-term interests.
India is estimated to have 22 billion tons of high grade ore but only 8 billion tons has been proven and accessible. In 2005-06, the nation produced 150 million tons (mt) of iron ore of which 90 mt was exported and the balance was consumed by domestic steel industry. Indian steel industry's profits grew at 17% before tax and is valued at Rs. 6,600 crore (USD 1.43 billion)-a vast under-valuation and under-performance.