Iron ore miners seek withdrawal of import duty against ban on exports


Reacting to the steel industry’s demand for a ban on iron ore exports, miners have written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), calling for withdrawal of import and other duties meant for shielding the domestic steel industry which, they believe, has indulged in ‘profiteering’ taking undue advantage of the current market situation.

Last week, steel industry’s representative body Indian Steel Association (ISA) urged the PMO to impose a temporary ban on exports of iron ore for six months to tide over the present supply crisis which is resulting into price rise of the raw material and causing steel price hike.

The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), in its letter to the PMO on December 31, said the ISA letter was “obfuscating the whole issue and justifying the unjustifiable increase in steel prices.”

“Duplicity of steel producers about shortage of iron ore is well exposed as some of the primary steel producers are themselves exporting iron ore. The very fact that steel companies are exporting iron ore means that there is no shortage of iron ore, otherwise they would have utilised it in their steel plants,” FIMI said.

Above all, almost all major steel players now have their captive sources where iron ore is available to them at transfer prices. FIMI said while the Indian steel industry fixes its prices almost at par with the international level; Indian ore prices are always much lower than the international prices.

“The arguments put in by ISA in their letter are without any facts and seem to have been sent with malafide intention to continue to take advantage of the prevailing market conditions and to continue to profiteering,” FIMI said.

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