India is looking at forming an iron-ore beneficiation policy, whereby low-grade ore would be upgraded to higher variants, Steel Secretary Nagendra Nath Sinha, said.

The move would help maximise the use of ore with less iron content in steel production.

The use of ore with less iron content needs beneficiation – the process by which impurities are removed - adds to the cost of steel production.

The Steel Ministry is already working with two other ministries – Environment & Forests and Mines – to formulate this policy which could be “likely in the next three months”.

Discussions are on with relation to availability of “concessions” from Environment Ministry.

policy in works

“An iron-ore beneficiation policy is in the works. This would allow lower grade ore to be upgraded, and there are two other ministries which are working with us on this,” Sinha said on the sidelines of a national workshop organised by the Steel Ministry.

Lump ore or high-grade iron ore contains 65.53 per cent iron content, whereas fines, which are generally of inferior quality has 64 per cent or less of iron content.

Incidentally, India’s Mines Ministry has been pushing for beneficiation of low grade iron ore.

Some years ago, the Ministry had floated the draft guidelines mandating beneficiation for 80 per cent of low grade iron ore. It had even recommend penal action, including cancellation of mine licences if such beneficiation was not carried out.