India's iron ore exports down 28% to 11.17 MT in Apr-Dec

India's iron ore exports down 28% to 11.17 MT in Apr-Dec New Delhi: India's iron ore exports have gone down by 28.16 percent during April-December of the current fiscal to 11.17 million tonnes (MT) as gloom continues over the sector due to the present regulatory scenario, mineral industries body FIMI said today.

India, once the third largest exporter of iron ore, had exported 15.55 MT of the mineral in the corresponding period of last fiscal, data released by Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) showed.

"We expect the situation to continue as long as government policy does not change. There is total gloom in the sector, there is no ray of hope," FIMI Secretary General R K Sharma said.

He added that this year's iron ore exports are expected to come down by 20 percent to about 14-15 MT from the levels of 18.37 MT in 2012-13.

Paradip (4 MT), Vizag (3.84 MT) and Haldia (1.58 MT) are the major ports from where export of the minerals are taking place, the FIMI data showed.

Indian iron ore exports have been hurt badly in last few years due to mining bans in Goa and Karnataka, which led to a drastic fall in domestic production as well. Increase in export duty to 30 percent on both types of iron ore, lumps and fines, in December 2012, had also impacted the sector.

Presently, low grade iron ore (or fine) are being exported from Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as mining is still banned in Goa. Export of the mineral is not permitted from Karnataka at present.

Few days back, the Goa government had issued a notification to sell about 15 MT iron ore through exports, as per a Supreme Court order. However, none of it is expected to be exported.

Industry is estimating that India's total iron ore production in the present fiscal will be around 140 MT, almost the same as last year.