Country’s iron ore exports witnessed a 27.56 per cent slump at 12.57 million tonnes (MT) during the April-February period of the current fiscal due to continuation of the export duty, mineral industries body FIMI said today.
India, once the third largest exporter of iron ore, had exported 17.35 MT of the mineral in the corresponding period of the last fiscal, data released by Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) showed.
“This is a disturbing trend as exports have declined continuously in last few years due to imposition of export duty. We will continue to persuade the government to withdraw the export duty on iron ore as well as on iron ore pellets,” FIMI Secretary General R K Sharma said.
He added that this fiscal’s iron ore exports are expected to come down by over 20 per cent to about 13.5-14 MT from 18.37 MT in 2012-13.
Paradip (4.6 MT), Vizag (4.46 MT) and Haldia (1.81 MT) are the major ports accounting for the bulk of mineral exports, according to FIMI data.
Indian iron ore exports have been hurt badly in last few years due to mining bans in Goa and Karnataka, leading to a drastic fall in domestic production. Besides, an increase in export duty to 30 per cent on both types of iron ore, lumps and fines, in December 2012, also impacted the sector.
However, China continues to be the biggest export market for Indian iron ore, though the quantity has declined by over 31 per cent to 10.44 MT in April-February. Japan is the second biggest market, where 1.65 MT ore has been shipped during the same period, the data said.
Presently, low grade iron ore (or fine) are being exported from Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as mining is still banned in Goa, while export of the mineral is not permitted from Karnataka at present.
In the last two months, the Goa government auctioned over a million tonne of iron ore, which was already mined before the imposition of ban.
Quality of the auctioned ore of Goa is of low grade and most the auctioned material is expected to be exported in the near future. This may lead to slight increase in iron ore exports as well.
The industry is estimating that India’s total iron ore production in the present fiscal will be around 140 MT, almost the same as last year.
Source : thehindu.com
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