Ballari: While the steel industry is starved of iron ore, its key raw material, and has appealed to the Supreme Court to increase the ceiling on iron ore production in the state, about 5.40 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore valued at Rs 165 crore is lying unsold with the mines of the Mysore Minerals Ltd in Sandur , Ballari district.
Although the Supreme Court had permitted MML to produce 40 lakh me ric tonnes of iron ore every year from its Sandur mines, the state owned company is at present able to produce only around 10 lakh tonnes a year.
"In the last six months, MML has sold a meagre 15,000 metric tonnes of iron ore and about 5.40 lakh metric tonnes valued at about 165 crore, is lying unsold in its stockyards," say industry insiders.
Going by the Supreme Court constituted Monitoring Committee and M/s MSTC, which carries out e-auction of iron ore, the Subbarayanahalli Iron Ore Mines and Thimmapanagudi Iron Ore Mines in Sandur e-auctioned 3,30,000 metric tonnes of iron ore fines and 2,14,000 metric tonnes of iron ore lumps between Janaury and May this year, but found takers for only 15,000 metric tonnes of both.
Despite having six senior serving IAS officers on its board of directors, the MML has failed to tap the market and put the PSU back on track. The big question then is why is the MML not able to sell its produce when others are ? Industry insiders say it is not the quality of ore that is to blame but its price.
"MML appears to have turned a blind eye to the market trends and is fixing exorbitant prices that will certainly cost it,"warned an industry observer. And now with the onset of the monsoon, an expert cautions that the huge iron ore stockpile could be washed away in the floods that inevitably follow....