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  • India top court lifts iron ore mining ban in GoaIndia's Supreme Court has lifted a ban on iron ore mining in the western state of Goa, but limited extraction to 20m tonnes a year. The miners will also need to renew their leases with the Goa government.All 90 iron ore mines in Goa were shut down after a government-backed inquiry in 2012 alleged they were illegal and lacked environmental permission to operate.It had claimed the state lost nearly $6bn (£3.75bn) due to illegal mining.The ban in Goa followed a similar move in the southern state of Karnataka in 2011.According to some estimates, those restrictions have cut India's iron ore exports by 85%, or 100m tonnes, over the past two years.Analysts said the lifting of the ban may help trigger a gradual recovery in the sector."The 20m tonnes is a reasonable quantity to start with," said Basant Poddar, vice-president of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries."Fresh mining will start after the monsoon and exports [of iron ore] may start in September."The court has also asked an expert panel to study the environmental impact of the mining and give its final recommendation on the annual cap on extraction within six months.
  • Global steel demand set to grow at approx 3 Percent this year Global steel demand is likely to grow at a faster pace of 3.3 per cent this year, driven by rising demand for the commodity from India, Brazil, Russia, West Asia and North Africa, according to a report.“Global steel demand is forecast to grow faster in 2014 at 3.3 per cent, with more demand growth expected outside China, including India, Brazil, and Russia, as well as emerging markets in the West Asia and North Africa,” an EY report said.It also said growth is likely in key end-use sectors like infrastructure and construction, automotive and oil & gas.“The Chinese economy continues to be a determining factor for the global steel market in the medium-to-long term,” the report said.It also said if urbanisation projects continue, accompanied by a strong domestic economy and a growing middle class, it will shift demand to more sophisticated consumer products such as cars and home appliances which will benefit steelmakers with high-end, value-added products.On future demand, the report said it will be majorly driven by developing nations like China, Brazil, Russia, India and some African countries.“As demand continues to shift to developing nations, the steel sector is focused on China, Brazil, Russia and India. Moreover, as Africa experiences stability and accelerated economic growth, future scramble for African demand could further shift the landscape in years to come,” EY global steel leader Anjani Agrawal said in the report.He, however, pointed out that while there are signs of improving demand outlook, excess capacity remains the biggest threat to the steel sector.“Permanent shutdown of inefficient capacity is the only real solution to bring balance to the market but in the short term it is difficult to see this happening given state participation in many countries and additional incentive to retain employment, regardless of profitability,” Agrawal said.According to EY estimate, around 300 million tonnes steel making capacity needs to be closed for the industry’s profit margin to reach a sustainable level.
  • China steel futures stretch losses to near one month lowChinese rebar futures fell for a sixth day to a near one-month low on Tuesday as concerns over slowing economic growth in the world's top steel producer offset hopes for a seasonal recovery in demand.Steel use typically improves in the second quarter as construction and manufacturing activity pick up during the warmer months, but Beijing having made clear it has no intention to roll out major stimulus measures or loosen credit is expected to weigh on demand."The market sentiment is currently mixed. Investors are bearish on China's economic outlook, but they are still expecting steel demand to improve and there is a possibility that prices might rebound soon after continuous falls," said a rebar futures broker in Shanghai.The benchmark October rebar futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped to a low of 3,211 yuan ($519) a tonne, the lowest since March 25. It narrowed losses to 0.15 percent to end at 3,244 yuan by close, but has lost 4 percent in the six sessions to Tuesday."Tight credit also has a big impact on our business as our orders are actually good but customers can't settle the payment in a timely way," said a trader in eastern Jiangsu province.Iron ore prices dropped to the lowest in more than three weeks on the extended losses in steel prices and rising supply.At the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the iron ore contract for delivery in September dropped to a session low of 768 yuan, its lowest since March 28. It closed 0.4 percent lower at 779 yuan.India on Monday lifted a 19-month ban on iron ore mining in Goa, its top exporting state, a move that will put more pressure on global prices, although it capped annual output in the state at 20 million tonnes. The additional supply from Goa, which exports nearly all of its output, would add to an expected surplus of iron ore this year as big mining companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton boost production while demand from top consumer China slows.Morgan Stanley sees global seaborne iron ore supply exceeding demand by 79 million tonnes this year, with the surplus doubling to 158 million tonnes in 2015.Iron ore for immediate delivery to China .IO62-CNI=SI fell to $113.3 a tonne on Monday, its lowest since March 28 and down 2.7 percent from Thursday, according to data provider the Steel Index, which did not publish pricing figures during the Good Friday holiday.It has fallen about 16 percent this year as a slowing Chinese economy curbs its demand for the steelmaking raw material.
  • CBI summons ex coal secretaryThe CBI summoned former Coal Secretary P C Parakh on Tuesday to appear for questioning on April 25, in connection with alleged irregularities in granting a coal block in Odisha to Hindalco, a Aditya Birla Group company.Parakh has been asked to appear on Friday before the investigative agency and he will be quizzed about the changes made in the decision to allot the coal block taken by the screening committee. The screening committee had allotted the Talabira-II coal block to Neyveli Lignite Limited, a public sector undertaking, but the decision was changed by Parakh after he had received a request sent by Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla from the Prime Minister’s Office for reconsideration.Last year, the CBI had registered a case against Parakh, Birla and few officials of Hindalco and the Coal Ministry.In the case it has been alleged that in 2005, some officials of Hindalco and the Coal Ministry entered into a criminal conspiracy and the then coal secretary (Parakh) abused his position and showed undue favour to Hindalco.“Neyveli Lignite Limited was to be given Talabira II block, but Parakh allegedlyfavoured Hindalco and allowed it to share the block with Neyveli,” the FIR said.
  • Enforcement Directorate to probe money trail in five coal block cases
    The CBI has handed over five coal block allocation cases to the Enforcement Directorate for a probe into the money trail under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act.A case recently registered against Castron Technologies has been taken up by the ED. The CBI has accused Kolkata-based company of having obtained a Brahmadih coal block in Jharkhand in 1999, during the NDA regime, without a specific purpose.According to the FIR, the company got the block sanctioned in conspiracy with some public servants, who overlooked the fact that it had not identified any specific purpose for the allocation.CBI cases against Rathi Steel and Power Limited, which was allocated a Kesla North block in Chhattisgarh in 2008, Jharkhand Ispat Private Limited, which was allotted North Dhadu block in January 2006, and Chhattisgarh-based Pushp Steel and Mining Private Limited were also sent to the ED for further probe investigation into financial aspects.Yet another case now being probed by the ED is against former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayana Rao, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) director Naveen Jindal and unknown members of the screening committee for alleged irregularities in the joint allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal block at Birbhum in Jharkhand to JSPL and Gagan Sponge Iron Private Limited in 2008.

  • SC lifts iron ore mining ban in GoaThe Supreme Court lifts a 19-month old ban on mining in Goa, the top adamant ore-exporting state, on Monday, a move that will put added burden on all-around prices although it capped annual  output is at 20 million  tonnes.The ban was imposed in 2012 as allotment of a drive to curb  illegal  mining in Goa. It was lifted  on the advocacy of a console appointed by the Supreme Court to attending into the mining industry console  to assure adjoin actionable activity.The added supply  from Goa, which exports about all of its output, would add to an accepted surplus of adamant ore this year as big mining companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton boost production while demand  from top customer China slows.
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