Miners' body FIMI today sought removal of up to 10 per cent export duty on iron ore even as the Steel Ministry is pushing for doubling the present levy ahead of the upcoming Budget.
Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) Secretary General R K Sharma in a letter to Mines Secretary Santha Sheela Nair said, "any imposition or increase of export duty would have unsettling effect on the smooth running of trade of iron ore. ...Federation would, therefore, submit kindly to withdraw export duty."
Sharma said the country is exporting only fines, in which "the domestic steel industry is not interested because of the technology being used by them."
FIMI also said mineral-rich countries like Brazil, Australia and South Africa would continue to reap the benefit of the prevailing duty structure if it is not changed soon.
On the face of Steel Ministry's call for doubling the prevailing export duty to up to 20 per cent, Sharma requested the Mines Ministry to take up the matter with the Finance counterparts and block any such move.
In 2008-09, of the total production of 215.44 million tonnes, 140-150 million tonnes were fines, FIMI said.
The exports of fines in 2008-09 was 92.17 million tonnes.
On December 24 last year, the government increased the export duty on iron ore lumps to 10 per cent from five per cent and on iron ore fines to five per cent from nil.