Iron ore is still one of the most sought after resources for any nation’s economy and industry. Fortunately, India has several places rich in iron ore. Over time, the value of the ore has only increased. But here is the story of iron ore – 8 lakh metric tons which were claimed by no one but sought by all.
In 2007, iron ore was illegally mined from Bellary’s forests in broad daylight. They were then shipped to China and other countries via Baithkol port in Karwar and Belekeri port in Uttara Kannada district. Illegal mining caused a huge stir across the country and the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who raided various mining and transportation sites.
In one such raid, a whopping 8 lakh metric tons of iron ore was prevented from being transported to Belekeri and Baithkol. The case is still pending. After 12 long years, the JMFC court cleared the online auction of 30,000 tons of ore that now remains. Over the past 12 years, most of the ore dumped near the port has been washed away by the rains. Part of it was also stolen, local officials say.
The remaining amount of ore is now estimated to be around 30,000 metric tons only, out of 8 lakh metric tons.
Now let’s do a calculation of what is lost. Rather than just letting this huge amount of rich iron ore wash away and go to waste, if the government had auctioned or sold it itself, how much would it earn? And what is the value of the ore today, if all those 8 lakh metric tons were still untouched?
In 2007, when the ore was looted by order of Lokayukta, the value of the ore was Rs 5,500 per ton for Grade A ore, Rs 4,000 ton for Grade B ore and Rs 3,000 for Grade A ore. grade C. At present, all the different grades of ore are mixed in the heap. Therefore, the current price is estimated at Rs 4,000.
If the 8 lakh tonnes of ore were allowed to be sold, the state would have gotten revenue of Rs 352.73 crore. But now the 30,000 tons can only fetch Rs 12 crore only. Moreover, if all the ore were sold in 2007 itself, their value would be much higher considering the price of the ore then. The loss to the state treasury is truly enormous.
The Karwar DC, Mullai Mugilan said: “We are all ready for the auction. The mining and geology departments also work with us. We have installed several DC cameras to track the number of vehicles and the movements of trucks transporting ore. The date of the auction is not yet decided. Several companies from outside Karnataka have also shown interest in participating in the auction. We are pretty sure it will be a successful event.
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