First Karnataka iron ore mine restarts, but export ban stays

India's MEL  iron ore  company became the first mine in  Karnataka to resume operations this week after the southern Indian state lifted a one year ban on mining.

India's Supreme Court instituted the ban in August last year after reports of environmental damage from illegal mining, corruption and poor labour practices.

Platts reports Karnataka's total output will be capped at 30 million mt/year:

The restart of iron ore mining in Karnataka is not seen to impact the global seaborne trade in the near-term.

This is because ore produced in the state will continue to be sold through electronic auctions for at least another two years with only domestic end-users eligible to participate in these sales.

Iron ore prices dropped again to fresh multi-year lows on Friday with the benchmark import price of 62% iron ore fines at China's Tianjin port down 1.5% to $110.20 a tonne. This time last year the commodity changed hands for more than $170 a tonne.

In June a scathing report by Human Rights Watch deemed India's 2,600 mines "out of control" and pointed out "pervasive lawlessness in India’s scandal-ridden mining industry" and the collapse in enforcement of laws to protect local communities.