Goa mining industry happy at dropping of export duty on low grade ore

Panaji, Feb 29 (IANS) The mining industry in Goa on Monday said the budgetary proposal to abolish export duty on low grade iron ore would give it a leg up at a time of global downturn.

“It was long overdue. The entire business of iron ore is undergoing fierce competition following the global price crash. This will put the industry in the state in position to compete with global competition,” Glenn Kalavampara, spokesperson of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), told IANS.

Iron ore mining is an industry worth thousands of crores of rupees in Goa.

Kalavampara said doing away with export duty was just one of the measures needed to aid the mining industry, which had of late grappled with a massive mining scam, a prolonged ban on mining, and falling global prices of iron ore.

Presenting the budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced dropping of 10 per cent tax on fines of grades with 58 percent content or less and abolishing 30 percent levy on lower grade lumps.

The bulk of iron ore mined in Goa has been of inferior FE content, which was exported to markets in China and Japan, with very little sourced for domestic consumption.

The abolition of the 30 per cent export levy and the dropping of the 10 per cent tax on iron ore fines of less than 58 per cent are expected to help the mining industry to export their ore at competitive prices.

“None of the domestic consumers use Goa ore. We were hoping for this correction to take place for quite a while,” Kalavampara said.

Since 2012, the mining industry in Goa suffered multiple closure orders from the state and the central government.

It was eventually banned by the Supreme Court in the same year after the Justice M.B. Shah Commission exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in Goa’s mining sector.

The commission’s report said a network of Goa’s politicians, bureaucrats and mining companies have been involved in illegal mining on a massive scale.

The ban was lifted and mining eventually resumed in 2015, but falling global prices put another dampener on the industry.

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