India’s mining industry urges government to remove fetters on bauxite

India’s mining industry has urged the government to re-examine an export duty of 15% imposed on bauxite that has sharply cut down shipments as well as policy measures to facilitate production of the aluminium-making material.

R.L. Mohanty, vice president of Federation of Indian Mineral Industries told a conference titled “Leveraging Indian Bauxite and Aluminum Industry for Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India)” on Friday that the country’s export of the aluminium-making resource had shrunk to a meagre 0.5 million tons during 2019-20 from a peak of 8.9 million tons in 2015-16.

India has the world’s sixth-largest reserves of bauxite and can utilise the resource for economic development when several other sectors are under stress due to the pandemic, industry executives said.

“Export of bauxite leads to generating direct and indirect employment and the socio-economic development of local communities, stevedores and other related ancillary industry,” Mohanty said.

India is one of the leading players in aluminium industry with the second aluminium capacity and third-largest production in the world. Still, the country ends up importing 60% of its aluminium needs that  results in an outgo of $5.5 billion annually.

Aluminum is one of the most widely used metals with its application ranging from construction, aircraft and car bodies to cables.

“Rising imports of aluminium needs to be restricted in order to promote domestic production to realise the country’s vision for a self-reliant India,” Mohanty said.

India’s primary aluminium capacity stands at 4.1 million metric tons per annum and downstream processing capacity at 3.9 million tons. However, the domestic aluminium consumption is expected to reach 10 million metric tons by 2031-32.

To meet the future demand, India needs to increase its bauxite production from 23 million tons to around 70 million tons by 2032, Mohanty said.

Biman Mukherji is a columnist and consulting editor at Indoasiancommodities.com. He has worked for international news organisations such as Reuters, The Wall Street Journal as well as for newspapers like The Times of India. He can be reached at biman.mukherji@indoasiancommodities.in

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