NMDC, a state-controlled mineral producer, has increased the price by Rs 150 a tonne for iron ore lumps and fines with effect from Tuesday. This does not apply to Karnataka, where the company reduced it by Rs 300 a tonne last month, as offtake was low.
Its lump ore price is now Rs 3,200 a tonne and fines are Rs 2,810 a tonne. Sources said this is in the backdrop of a rise in demand and increase in royalty rates by the Odisha government.
Prices and demand in Odisha and Chhattisgarh are going up at a time when Karnataka mines are seeing less of sales as compared to the production, resulting in piling up of stock. User industries in Karnataka had decided to source ore from elsewhere as much as possible.
JSW Steel and Kalyani Steel, major customers for Karnataka miners, did not respond to queries. NMDC's total production in Karnataka in the past three months was 4.37 million tonnes; sales were 1.7 m. In Chhattisgarh, total production in that period was 9.44 mt and sales even more, at 11.9 mt.
NMDC produced 35.6 mt in 2017-18, of which its mines in Karnataka produced around 12 mt. Of the production in Karnataka, nearly 80 per cent is procured by JSW Steel.