Mining industry officials today asked the Centre to withdraw the 10 per cent export duty on heavy minerals and also the notification issued last month, saying it’s already impacting the sector.
“The government of India in the budget has imposed a 10 per cent export duty on sale of ilmenite and five per cent duty on upgraded ilmenite. This has already impacted us. We are already feeling the pinch of it in places like Karnataka and Gujarat…,” Mining Engineers’ Association of India National President Arjeth Bagchhi told reporters here.
Noting that the industry was contributing about 2.5 per cent of country’s GDP employing about 50 lakh people, he said Indian ilmenite, which was accepted only in China, may be stalled due to the export duty as China may look for ilmenite from South Africa.
“Our ilmenite is low grade. These are very complex minerals and we have to make very large capital to separate them. So far it is accepted only in China. We were exporting for USD 200 per tonne but the cost has come down drastically and today it is priced below USD 100 per tonne of ilmenite..If this continues, the industry may become standstill”, he said.
“There is a possibility that ilmenite from South Africa may be exported to China due to its quality and price,” he said.
“Export duty will be a hurdle for the industry to compete globally,” he said.
Government has come out with a notification to unilaterally do away with deemed extension (of leasing of ilmenite). This has the “potential” to bring down the industry in two years time, he said.
Asked whether the association had approached the Centre on the matter, he said they had made representations to Mining and Finance department.
“So far there is no response from them. Actually, this decision (to impose 10 per cent export duty) has put all of us (industry) in soup,” he said.
The Economic Times