Iron ore mining in India’s main exporting state, Goa, could begin in two months after the country’s environment ministry lifted yesterday a two-year ban aimed to control illegal mining.
The news was received with cautious, The Economic Times reports, as miners and exporters believe the end of the ban is not enough to jumpstart the sector. What they want is a reduction of the 30% export duty they would have to resume paying, something they consider “essential”:
Goa produces low-grade ore, which is exported to China as India doesn’t have facilities to process it. So, export duty has a direct bearing on the miners in the state.
The move comes amid an ongoing collapse in commodity prices to a 12-year low, weak demand and a global glut in iron ore, muting industry reaction to the possible resumption of mining and exports.
Seaborne was trading at barely $55.48 a tonne Wednesday, according to the Metal Bulletin Iron Ore Index. The commodity has declined 18 per cent this year after falling almost 50% in 2014.
Last year, the country’s Supreme Court gave its go-ahead to resume mining in the coastal state, subject to companies getting environmental clearances, but capped total production at 20 million tonnes a year. These curbs have made India a net importer of iron ore after being the third largest exporter a few years ago.
Prior to the 2012 mining ban, Goa accounted for about 47 million tonnes of iron ore production and most of it was exported mainly to China.