Naveen demands total ban on chrome ore

Bhubaneswar: Apprehending that the country`s chromite reserves might not last for more than 20 years, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded a complete ban on export of chrome ore with immediate effect.

Expressing concern over rapid depletion of chromite reserve, Patnaik said only an estimated 66 million tonne of chromite was reserved in the country of which 95 per cent had been located in the state.

"I am of the opinion that in order to provide raw material security to the end-user industries in the country, a total ban on export of chromite should be imposed immediately," Patnaik said in a letter to Dinsha J Patel, Union Minister of State for Mines.

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 was being exported to China," he said.

India has only 1 per cent of world`s chrome reserve, Patnaik said, adding that the 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 also imposed a ban on chrome ore export from April, 2011," the chief minister said.

Stating that the state attracted huge investment in steel and ferro chrome sectors, Patnaik said these industries require chromite as an input. 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.