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Iron ore exports dip 36% to 56 million tonnes during April-February FY 2012

Continuing a declining trend, iron ore exports dipped by over 36 per cent to 56 million tonnes (MT) in April-February period last fiscal mainly due to ban on shipments of the key steel-making raw material from Karnataka.

Iron ore exports from the country were over 87 MT in the year-ago period, according to the data released by miners body, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), today.

"The decline in exports is mainly on account of ban on shipments from Karnataka and then hike in exports duty as well as increase in railway freight," FIMI Secretary General R K Sharma told PTI.

Iron ore shipments from Karnataka, a major exporter of the raw material from the country, have been stopped since July, 2010, following allegations of widespread corruption.

"Unless the export duty and railway freight are brought down, the iron ore exports will continue to slide and the shipment during the fiscal may not cross 60 MT," Sharma added.

The government had hiked the export duty on iron ore to 30 per cent in December last year from 20 per cent, while freight on iron ore for domestic consumption was increased by 20 per cent early in March and the rates were reduced by 16 per cent on its exports.

Sharma said this fiscal the exports may even slide to 50 MT.

The most glaring fall was in recorded in February 2012, when it came down by over 60 per cent to 4.2 MT from 10.5 MT. In January this year, the shipment declined by 48 per cent to 5.5 MT as compared to a year-ago period.

November and December were equally bad when the exports declined by 44 per cent and 43 per cent to 4.6 MT and 5.9 MT, respectively.

India, the third-largest global exporter of iron ore, had exported 97.64 MT iron ore in the 2010-11, down from 117.3 MT in 2009-10.

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