NEW DELHI (Commodity Online) : Rejecting demand for a total ban on iron ore exports from some States, Indian government said states need to take stringent steps to prevent illegal mining.

Replying to a debate on illegal mining in country's upper house of the parliament, Mines minister B K Handique said Merely because state governments are not able to prevent and stop illegal mining, we should not ban export of iron ore.

The problem of illegal mining, which is growing in alarming proportion in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand, is a problem of governance, he said.

Rather banning export of iron ore, we need to see there is no illegal production of iron ore, the minister said, adding that the need of the hour is to tighten the regulatory system with adequate staff.

The minister also clarified that Karnataka, which is the second largest producer of iron ore in the country, has not banned export of iron ore.

Karnataka has prohibited transportation of iron ore to ports and not export as such, he said.

Iron ore is a vital steel making raw material. India, the world's third largest iron ore exporter, produced 218 million tones of iron ore in 2009-10 fiscal and exported 128 million tones.