BHUBANESWAR: Expressing concern over the depleting reserves of the country’s chromite ore which may not last for more than 20 years, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded an immediate ban on the mineral’s export. In a letter to Union Minister of State for Mines Dinsha J Patel, Naveen said a total ban on the export of the ore should be imposed immediately to provide raw material security to the end user industries of the country.
Naveen said that only an estimated 66 million tonne of chromite reserves are in the country of which 95 per cent has been located in the State. Despite the low reserves, export of the mineral is allowed. At least, 1.9 million tonne was exported in 2008-09. Over 75 per cent of the chromite is being exported to China, he said.
Stating that the country has only 1 per cent of the world’s chrome reserves, the Chief Minister said that lesson should be learnt from Zimbabwe which has around 10 per cent of the world’s total deposit. Zimbabwe, as part of its strategic measure to conserve its finite resources, has banned chrome ore export from April, 2011, he said.
As the State has attracted huge investment in steel and ferro chrome sectors, these industries require chromite as an input, Naveen said and added that chrome ore is used in making ferrochrome, which is further used in manufacture of stainless steel.
Stainless steel has considerable demand in the construction sector and particularly required for expansion of automobile industry, which uses the non-corrosive material for external body surfaces. “I am given to understand that the Union Ministry of Steel has also demanded a ban on export of chrome ore,” the Chief Minister said.