India's iron ore production is likely to have increased by 28 per cent to 200 million tonnes during the 2016-17 fiscal, a top official said today.
"We did 129 million tonnes (of iron ore output) in 2014-15. In 2015-16, we did 156 million tonnes (MT) and in 2016-17 we hope to touch 200 million tonnes (provisional)," Mines Secretary Arun Kumar said during the Global Natural Resources Conclave organised by Network 18 and CII.
"So, I think we are on the right track and if this trajectory follows, we will start beating Australia in export. But that's another story," Kumar said.
With regard to imposition of minimum import price on certain categories of aluminium products, Kumar said, "We have sent our recommendations and replies of the queries to the Ministry of Commerce and the matter is with them now".
Kumar had earlier said that the total value of the ore produced during the April-January period stood at Rs 19,417 crore.
Iron ore output had nosedived with an average annual contraction of 9.4 per cent in 2012-16 following the mining ban in the three largest iron-ore producing states -- Goa, Odisha and Karnataka -- which has since been lifted.
Mining player Vedanta had recently said that the worst phase for the domestic iron ore industry was over and exuded confidence that its Goa arm was prepared to sustain the export momentum amid softening global prices and subdued demand.
A Fitch arm had in February said the country's iron ore output is projected to grow to 185 mt in the next four years.
"We forecast India's iron ore output to grow from 136 mt in 2017 to 185 mt in 2021," said BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group.
Iron ore shipments handled by the country's 12 major ports had soared 169 per cent to 38.61 mt in April-January of this fiscal. These government-owned ports had handled 14.37 mt of the key steel-making raw material in the year-earlier period.
The Indian Ports Association (IPA), which maintains data on cargo handled by these 12 ports, in a recent report said iron ore handling was higher by 168.59 per cent in the first 10 months of the current fiscal.