PANAJI: (GCCI) has requested the Centre to do away with the export duty on iron ore, considering the crisis being faced by the industry due to falling prices of ore in the international market.
The chamber, in its pre-budget memorandum submitted to Union Finance Minister said that complete withdrawal of export duty on the ore, irrespective of its ferrous content, would be a major step towards regaining confidence.
The Finance Ministry had raised the export duty on from 20 per cent to 30 per cent with effect from December 30, 2011.
After repeated requests, the export duty only on iron ore fines with grade below 58 per cent was reduced to 10 per cent with effect from June 1, 2015, whereas the rate remained 30 per cent for all other ores, including iron ore lumps with grade 58 per cent and above.
The economics of iron ore exports have changed completely with prices currently trading at five years low.
“The benchmark grade (62 per cent) prices have declined from a high of USD 160 per tonne in 2011 to current prices of USD 34 per tonne on slowing Chinese iron ore demand and surplus iron ore production in Australia and Brazil. The prices for the lower grades have fared worst,” the said.
The deposits in Goa are predominantly low grade iron ores. With inland waterways in the state, such ores are best suited for export to overseas markets, which use the ore for blending with higher grade ores from other sources.
“The cost of inland transportation to domestic steel plants makes the use of such low grade ore (which also contains higher gangue material) domestically prohibitive, apart from the fact that it requires higher consumption of coking coal which India has to import,” it said.
Thus, with a lack of domestic demand, iron ores from Goa were in a position to find markets overseas.
It is therefore necessary that the plethora of taxes on the iron ore industry in Goa/ India are rationalised, it said.