Tata Steel has rejoined the Indian Steel Association almost a year after it parted ways over the contentious issue of the government advancing the termination of captive mine leases to 2025 from 2030.
In fact last May, TV Narendran, Managing Director, Tata Steel, had quit as President of the association before his term came to an end, besides withdrawing the company’s membership from the association as some of the steel companies were in favour of the government’s decision.
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In a major turnaround, Tata Steel alongwith its subsidiaries Tata Steel BSL (formerly Bhushan Steel), and Tata Steel Long Products rejoined the ISA in April.
Interestingly, the country’s largest steel producer JSW Steel also inducted its recently acquired Bhushan Power and Steel into the association.
Dilip Oommen, President, Indian Steel Association, said the Association over the years has played a pivotal role in addressing and resolving critical issues that impact the industry.
In a bid to bring parity between legacy iron ore mine owners and steel companies winning mines in auctions, the government amended the Mining and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act in 2015 and extended the validity of captive mine leases till 2030 but advanced it to 2025. These mines were to be auctioned after the leases expiry.
In the last one year, JSW Steel had acquired four iron ore mines committing a huge premium of over 135 per cent.
Even though Tata Steel has rejoined the association, the difference of opinion among the industry on advancing the captive mining lease expiry date still persist, said a steel company official.
The Ministry of Steel has insisted that the industry should bury its difference and speak in one voice, particularly when the user industries have been mounting pressure on the consistent rise in steel prices, he added.
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In February, the Competition Commission of India suo moto launched a probe on whether large steel companies had formed a cartel to increase prices.
Addressing the user industry’s woes, the government had waived off the anti-dumping duty on a few steel products till September-end and halved the customs duty to 7.5 per cent on imports of semis, flat and long products of non-alloy, alloy and stainless steel.