The Ministry of Mines has allowed Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) to offload, in a year, up to a quantity equivalent to maximum of 25 per cent of total iron ore production in the previous year. This is subject to clearance from the respective State governments where the mines are located, a statement said.

It is valid for a period of two years. This development implies that around 7 million tonnes of iron ore, produced at mines in Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, can be offloaded by SAIL to the domestic market after getting the necessary clearances.

SAIL has also been allowed to dispose of old stock of 70 million tonnes of low-grade iron fines and ores (including slime) dumped across different captive mines of SAIL, after getting the necessary permission from Jharkhand, Odisha and Chattisgarh, where the mines are located.

According to Section 8A(6) of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, the lease of 31 working mines of iron ore expires on March 31, 2020. After the expiry, it is expected to lead to a shortfall of 60 million tonnes of iron ore in the market.