Union Mines Ministry against export duty hike

Panaji: The Union Mines Ministry has expressed its reservation over Finance Ministry`s decision to increase export duty on the low grade iron ore in the country, a senior official said today.

"The Mines Ministry is not favourably inclined towards increase in the export duty," A K Srivastava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines, told reporters on the sidelines of two day long conference on `Mining for Sustainability` organized by Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) here.

He said the Ministry has already written to the government about their views, which might be considered during union budget.

"There is always a budget. The final call on the hike would be taken during budget," Srivastava said adding that there is always a possibility that central government might revisit it during the presentation of budget.

The export duty was hiked from 20 per cent to 30 per cent from December 30, 2010 onwards by the Finance Ministry in order to channelise the Iron ore to Indian steel industries.

Srivastava said at least low grade ores, which are not consumed by the steel industry, should be spared from the hike.

"If export duty is increased on high grade, the low grade ore should be allowed to continue with the earlier duty," he said.

The Mines industry in Goa had expressed their worry over increased hike, which according to them, would spell doom on their already troubled trade.

Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) and Goa Chamber of Commerce and industry (GCCI) had made representation to Goa government seeking their intervention to roll back the excise duty.

State Chief Minister Digambar Kamat had said that the union government would be approached with the pleas made by mining industry.