From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network – Panaji
Panaji, Jun 11: With the onset of monsoons, the iron ore mining business in Goa has come to a standstill with only lumpy ore being transported from the sites to the ports from where it is exported to the countries like China.
Industry players like Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) claim that 80 percent of the business will be down, as fines cannot be laden in the trucks and transported to the jetties from where it is ferried to the port by small ships.
GMOEA executive secretary Swaminathan Sridhar said that only few mining companies extract the lumpy ore, while rest deal with fines which are low grade. He said that extraction and transportation on ore becomes difficult during the rains due to logistic reasons.
Goa is India’s largest exporter of Iron ore with majority of the extracted earth exported to china, which has become a booming market since 2005. The state has 90 operational mining leases.
The clampdown on the illegal mining activity has severely dented the prospects of the growing exports from the state. From record 54 million metric tons of export in the year 2010-11, before crackdown on the illegal iron ore, the exports had plummeted to 43 million metric tons in 2011-12.
“The indications are that the exports would further be down by 15 per cent for the current financial year,” GMOEA secretary Glenn Kalavampara said, adding that the trends of exports in April-May, this year, were indicative of the downfall.
He said that 38 million metric tons mining export is projected for the current FY. “But it may be too early to predict,” he added.
The statistics available with the GMOEA indicates that the export was around 8-9 million metric tons for April-May, 2012, which less in comparison to the same months last year.
Just not the economy slowdown in China but stringent measures adopted by the state authorities has cut into the illegal mining curtailing the exports.
State government has imposed ban on the export of ore from the iron ore stacks, which were dumps in the mining leases. Small time traders, who were operating without proper licensing, have also been regulated by the state mines and geology department.
Kalavampara said that the increased export duty is also affecting the business. Further, he said that stringent MMRD, which is in the process of being amended, may also be one of the risk factors faced by the industry.
In addition, the revision in the royalty paid to the state government is also staring at the ailing industry. The mining industry, he said, hopes that they won’t taxed further as the royalty revision is due in the current year.
“Various states across the country want more revenue from mining industry during the revision of royalty. Overall revision will also affect Goa,” he said. GMOEA has demanded that royalty should be uniform unit rate depending on the Fe content of the ore.