Brainstorming in Jul to set tone for K'taka mining industry

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Mining
Bangalore, Jun 23: Mining is one of the most important industries in Karnataka. The state government has been trying to encourage investments in the sector. A brainstorming session will be organised here on Jul 4 and 5 in this connection.

Besides three state ministers, leading industrialists and officials from the Centre, foreign delegates too will jointly discuss how beneficiation technologies can revive the industry that was severely affected by the ban on mining in Karnataka.

The enlivening discussions will be held alongside the annual conference of OreTeam, a leading global research house, in Bangalore. The conference will dwell upon topics like 'new opportunities in the state for iron and steel industry,' 'resumption of iron ore mining and export potential,' 'Steel & Iron ore trade scenario in Karnataka and South India', 'studying the future of raw material scenario in the state,' 'importance & need of beneficiation, pelletisation and coal gasification' and 'investment opportunities.'

According to Sachin Seghal, Director of OreTeam, the path ahead for the mining sector is tricky. "Indian iron ore exports were severely affected in the past due to the ban on mining operations in Karnataka which produces close to 70 per cent of magnetite ore in the country and is the third largest producer of steel. With mining expected to take off soon, it is time that all stakeholders come together and work out strategies to find out value additions like pelletisation and rebuild the industry. The event is going to be the perfect opportunity to lay the roadmap for future," Sehgal said.

"The mining industry produces nearly 15 per cent of the state's industrial output and investments of billions of dollars are pouring into the state for setting up new iron and steel making capacities. There are close to 50 DRI plants in the state producing nearly 6 million tonnes of sponge iron and 16.5 million tonnes of crude steel. Put together, all these units require nearly 32 million tonnes of iron ore," he added.

Of late, miners in Karnataka have not been getting huge export orders. OreTeam believes the miners can generate spectacular income through value addition processes and beneficiation technologies like pelletisation at this difficult juncture.

An investment of around Rs 200 crore is enough to set up pellet plants with a production capacity of 0.8 million tonnes per annum. "As compared to the integrated steel mills, the capital requirement is quite small while setting up pellet plants and the final product (i.e., iron ore pellets) can be easily sold either to the domestic steel mills, DRI plants or even exported if the price is right," pointed out Prakash Duvvuri, senior analyst at OreTeam.

Multinational companies have shown a willingness to help the domestic entrepreneurs establish pellet plants. Siemens and Japanese firm Kobe have already set up their bases in India to provide their technologies for pelletisation.

"With the availability of high grade lump ore increasingly becoming scarce, the demand for beneficiation and pelletising technologies is growing in importance. These technologies ensure utilisation of fines, and are therefore an imperative with respect to Industrial outlook on sustainability of environment and natural resources," said the official spokesperson of Finland-based Outotec, which is sending a delegation to the conference.

JSW Steel, Frost, RioTinto, Vale, Synergy Group and Posco would be attending the event. Technology providers like Outotec, Naltern, Siemens and Shougang will present their new processes. RioTinto and will be showcasing its core steel making Hismelt process.

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