The mine owners in Goa are worried as the iron ore extraction and exports have not yet taken off this season.They have cited the continuation of rains and the falling prices of low grade ore in the international market as reasons for the lacklustre mining season this year. The mining activity, which had stopped on June 1 following the arrival of monsoon, was expected to resume on October 1, but has failed to do so. As many as 41 mining leases were operational when the activity was stopped due to the rains.
State mines and geology department’s director Prasanna Acharya yesterday said the onset of the mining season has been delayed this year as the rains are still continuing. Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) secretary Glenn Kalavampara said mining is yet to begin due to concerns over falling prices of low grade ore in the international market.
“The falling international prices of low grade ore and high taxation are a huge concern. With these uncertainties, it appears there will be a delay in the mining season,” he said. As per the figures available with GMOEA, the prices of low grade ore, pegged at USD 94.5 per ton till February this year, have dropped to USD 45 to USD 50 per ton currently.
“It is tough to get a market for the low grade ore. The steel manufacturing mills are focusing more on the higher grade ore to increase productivity,” said mine owner and industry expert Haresh Melvani. The increased taxation on the industry is also a cause of concern as over 40 per cent of the profits have to be paid to the state government in the form of taxes, he said.
The mine owners have to pay export duty, royalty, cess, and contribute to the district mineral fund and Goa’s iron ore permanent fund, which take away a larg pie of the profits, Melvani said.