New Delhi: The steel industry asked the government on 19 March to cap iron ore exports to 90 million tonnes a year and said it was ready to buy all the ore from miners at the price at which the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) sells in the country.
“Ore export has to stop for the benefit of the steel industry. We seek capping of ore export at 90 MT this year and reduce it by 15% every year. We are ready to buy all the ores from standalone miners at a price at which NMDC is selling in the country,” Indian Steel Alliance (ISA) president Moosa Raza said.
State-run NMDC currently produces 25 MT ore, of which it exports around 10 MT and sells the remaining in the domestic market. “If NMDC could make huge profits by selling part of its produce in the domestic market, what is holding back the miners from doing so?” he argued.
Raza said the steel industry understood the concerns of the miners that their productivity, employment and prices would be affected if they sold ore to the domestic steel makers, and pointed out that to address these issues the ISA was ready to engage in a dialogue with the miners and buy ore at a mutually agreeable price.
The ISA chief argued that the government should double export duty on iron ore to Rs600 a tonne, saying the current levy was inadequate to check overseas sales and the miners were still making huge profits.
“We are not sure whether the export drive would be dampened because even after absorption of this export duty, exporters shall be making 12-15% more profits. In such a scenario levying an export duty of Rs600 a tonne should be deliberated by the government,” ISA said in a representation to the government.