The steel ministry,in a departure from its stand on iron ore exports,has agreed to begin talks with Japan and South Korea on resuming exports from NMDCs mines.
The steel ministry was under pressure from the commerce ministry to depute a delegation to the two countries and commence talks.
Even as the Union Cabinet had decided to allow NMDC to export ore to Japan and South Korea until 2014,the steel ministry had expressed a view that the exports should not be allowed as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Income Tax Department had raised objections.
The CAG had questioned the rationale behind exporting iron ore when local demand for it was on the rise. The I-T department criticised NMDC for selling at long term prices instead of spot prices and losing substantial revenues.
The steel ministry recently sought a Cabinet review on the export directive and impressed upon the commerce ministry to examine its position on exports in a scenario where steel producers were seeking more raw material security.
The view taken by the commerce ministry prevailed when Commerce Ministry Anand Sharma met Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth in the last week of November where it was decided to continue exporting iron ore to Japan and South Korea.
The commerce ministry feared that stopping exports would dent the revenues of MMTC,the canalising agency under its administrative control.