Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Export of ferrosilicon, which was on hold since October 24, has resumed on November 2.

The export was stopped after the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification time extension expired on October 23.

After the government followed up, the Government of India (GoI) gave another time extension of three months. This is the sixth time the GoI has given a time extension from November 1 to January 23, 2023.

In 2020, India’s Ministry of Steel made it mandatory for steel manufacturers to produce BIS certification. However, the BIS team from India couldn’t come for an inspection of the ferrosilicon factories in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although BIS officials were expected to visit the ferro industry in October this year, they couldn’t make it due to the festive season in India.

Meanwhile, ferrosilicon firms will have to work towards getting the BIS certification now.

An official from one of the ferrosilicon factories in Pasakha said that they are already in the certification process.

“A BIS officer is conducting the test at our plant,” he said, adding that it will take at least a month before the certification.  

“The sample has to be analysed in some accredited laboratory in India. We are hoping we will get the certification before the extension expires.”

Ferrosilicon is Bhutan’s top export commodity. In 2021, Bhutan exported ferrosilicon worth Nu 15 billion (B), according to the Bhutan Trade Statistics (BTS). In 2020, Bhutan exported ferrosilicon worth Nu 7B. In the first and second quarter this year, BTS shows Bhutan exported ferrosilicon worth Nu 4.8B and Nu 4B respectively.

There are nine ferrosilicon firms in the country today. Few more are underway.