Iron ore exporters want the complete withdrawal of the 50% export duty on low-grade iron ore or fines (less than 58% Fe content) imposed with effect from May 22, the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), the apex body of the miners, said.
In a letter written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, FIMI said following the imposition of the duty, exports of fines have nosedived 92% to just 0.23 million tonne (MT) in June, the first full since the duty was imposed from nil earlier, compared with 3.24 MT in the same month last year.
“After the imposition of export duty @50% on iron ore of -58% Fe, the exports have drastically declined to 0.23 million tonnes during June 2022 from a level of 3.24 MT during the same corresponding period of June 2021 which is a fall of 92%. The iron ore which has been effected during the month of June 2022 is the material which was already either in transit or at ports prior to imposition of export duty,” FIMI said in the letter.
Urging the minister to completely withdraw the impost, the association said the imposition of prohibitive duty was akin to virtual banning of iron ore fines’ export even as domestic steelmakers do not buy the material for want of necessary technology. If not exported, they will keep on piling at the mine heads and cause environmental hazards.
“Currently the non-moving stock of more than 121 MT of mainly low-grade iron ore is lying at various mine-heads and in dumps in the country,” FIMI said.
Indian miners export low-grade fines to China, but owing to subdued demand from China, the exports of these material declined to 12.83 MT in FY22 from 34.26 MT a year ago.
The industry body, however, silent on export duty also hiked for lump ores or those have more than 58% iron content to 50% from 30% earlier.