India is the 4th largest producer of iron ore, producing around 74 million tonnes annually, which is nearly 7.5% of the global output. The countries proven iron ore reserves stands at around 3 billion tonnes, 2% of the world total.
India's largest iron ore deposits are located in Bihar-Odisha belt, which accounts for 44% of the total reserves, followed by Karnataka-Goa (32%) and Madhya Pradesh – Maharashtra (16%). Concomitant to this, India has emerged as the 9th largest crude steel producer, producing more than 3% (24 million tonnes) of global steel output.
Overall, Japan and China are the largest importers of iron ore from India. Out of total exports of 13.90 million tones of iron ore to China from India, 8.75 million tones or about 62.95% constitutes high grade ore (fines). Also the availability of mine headstocks of iron ore at the end of 2001 was around 2.3 million tones (as per Ministry of Mines), which represent surplus after dispatches for domestic consumption and exports. High-grade fines occur mainly in the Jharkhand-Odisha and Bellary - Hospet regions.