Goa restarts exporting ore to China, promises to make it duty-free

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 19 October 2015 19:00 IST

After a gap of three long years, Goa today exported first consignment of iron ore to China, of 57 grade, at a mere price of USD 40 per tonne.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, while flagging off the export, has once again assured to make export of iron ore duty-free.

He today assured to get even the remaining 10 per cent export duty on iron ore slashed down from the central government, led by his Bharatiya Janata Party.  

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has already given a similar assurance earlier.

Goa’s BJP-led government has however turned down the suggestion of taking over all the mining leases and exporting the ore through state-owned corporation.

While Sesa Sterile has come forward to export the ore even at dropped prices in the China market, the BJP government has assured them further profit by making the exports duty-free.

At the request of Goa government as well as the Goa Ore Exporters’ Association, the centre had already reduced the export duty by 20 per cent, causing loss to the state exchequer.

With this relief, Vedanta’s iron ore division shipped its first consignment of 88,000 tonnes of iron ore, extracted from Codli, Bicholim and Surla mines.

Their export target is 5.5 million tonnes this year.

The Supreme Court has presently imposed annual capping of 20 MT on extraction of ore in Goa.

BACKGROUND

Rampant illegal mining in the first decade of 21st century led to the Supreme Court setting up Shah Commission to probe Goa’s mining activity, which brought out a scandal of Rs 35,000 crore.

It obviously invited a complete ban on mining activity since September 2012, when China was buying Goa’s low grade iron ore at around Rs 150 per tonne.

Legally, Goa was exporting almost 45 MT of ore that year.

After lifting the ban last year, the legal formalities with all kind of possible precaution took almost a year for the state to restart its mining activity.

While probe against the lease holders is still pending, Goa government has renewed their leases and allowed them to mine the ore.

Parrikar, then the opposition leader, was the first one to expose the mining scam of Goa and also assure the people to put the scamsters behind the bars, if elected to power.

Today, with Parrikar in the central ministry and his BJP also ruling in Goa, the saffron brigade has promised the same lease holders to make the ore export duty-free. 

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