The export-oriented iron ore mining industry in Goa has urged the government to remove the export duty on the ore and special permission to dump wastes outside the mines. These, the industry believes, would enable it to look up and fetch reasonable margins.
Export is a compulsion for miners in Goa since their low-grade ore does not find buyers in the domestic market. The government had in April this year brought down the export duty to 10% from 30% previously. Goa’s iron ore industry, which has been under suspension for nearly two-and-a-half years due to a mining ban imposed by the Supreme Court, earlier used to contribute more than 35% to the state exchequer as royalty and dead rent.
Ambar Timblo, managing director, Fomento Resources, said that with the royalty of 15%, district mineral fund (4.5%), Goa Permanent Fund (10%) and export duty of 10%, the industry suffers from one of the highest incidences of taxes in the world. Unless the export duty is reduced to zero, given the current subdued price condition, the miners would not be able to profitably export ore, the key raw material for the steel industry.
“The government would do well to reduce the taxes and let the industry thrive. Such an approach would enhance its revenues as well ,” he said.
Goa’s miners also want the government to give them a special permission to dump wastes outside the leases by amending the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act. While lifting the ban in April, 2014, the apex court had directed that all mining and mining-related operations must take place only within the notified boundaries of the mining lease. The Goa government and miners had subsequently made repeated representations to the Centre to allow them to dump the wastes outside the leases as their mines are comparatively small in size. The Narendra Singh Tomar-led ministry did not want to go against the Supreme Court directive with a “simple” suggestion that the problem can be “easily sorted out”.
A third demand of the miners is the exclusion of the Goa Permanent Fund of 10% for which they need to pay, according to an SC directive, for the project-affected people. Now, with the new Act made it mandatory for the mining firms to pay a percentage of the royalty for the same purpose, they want this to go.