New Delhi, July 16: The steel ministry will push for a complete ban on iron ore exports in the wake of soaring domestic price of the mineral.
As an immediate step, the ministry has proposed a 20 per cent export duty.
The steel ministrys considered view is a ban on iron ore exports… we should conserve the precious minerals and export value-added products, steel minister Vir Bhadra Singh told reporters.
At present, the export duty on iron ore fines is 5 per cent, while it is 15 per cent on lumps.
Last month, the ministry had written to the finance ministry seeking a duty hike.
The issue of higher input costs faced by steel makers was brought up before the Prime Minister.
The price of iron ore has doubled in a year in the global markets and is now hovering around $120 a tonne.
A decision on the ban will be taken by the government, soon, Singh said.
Steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi said his ministry would raise the issue of banning iron ore exports at an eGoM (empowered group of ministers) meeting scheduled for July 22.
The 10-member ministerial panel headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is due to meet next week to debate on the proposed mines and mineral development and regulation bill. According to Chaturvedi, there should be a deterrent. We want a deterrent, whether it be in the shape of complete ban on exports or increase in duty.
Iron ore production stood at 230 million tonnes last fiscal of which 106 million tonnes were exported. The steel industry mainly consumes lumps as it doesnt have the technology to process fines.