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Steel Min considers duty free export of high grade iron ore

The steel ministry has initiated a study to examine whether higher grade iron ore is being exported by passing off as inferior grade material (with iron content up to 58%) or pellets. Unlike the richer grade ore which attract 30% duty, the inferior varieties are currently exempted from an export tax. Consultancy firm Mecon will commission a study on the feasibility of export of high grade iron ore lumps or fines (iron or Fe content above 58%) either in the garb of low grade ore or as iron ore pellets, which have a waiver on export duty regardless of the ore content.

Over the last six months, lower grade ore has gained traction in the export markets following the crisis at Vale’s Brazil mines in January this year and a cyclone impacting the operations of some key iron ore mines in Australia. Chinese steelmakers too, have shown keenness for buying lower grade iron ore fines due to the lackadaisical approach to environmental regulations.