* Apr-Oct exports down 25 percent y/y
* Goa exporters say fear mining ban
(Adds quote, details)
By Krittivas Mukherjee
NEW DELHI, Nov 21 Iron ore exports from
India, usually the world's third biggest supplier of the
ingredient for steel, could fall a third to 65-70 million tonnes
in the year to March 2012, the head of a major exporter, Sesa
Goa, said on Monday.
India's iron ore exports were already down 25 percent in
April to October, hit by stalled shipments because of a legal
wrangle in Karnataka, which normally accounts for a quarter of
exports, and the pinch of high transport costs.
The western state of Goa, which was the top exporter last
year, could ship 45-50 million tonnes, down from 54.42 million
tonnes in the year earlier period, Sesa Goa Managing Director
P.K. Mukherjee said at an iron ore industry event.
Goa shipped 19.76 million tonnes in the April to October
period, down 6.15 percent.
Most of India's iron ore exports go to China, which has the
world's largest steel industry. The country used to export about
half its annual production until Karnataka introduced a ban on
shipments in July 2010.
That ban was overturned by the Supreme Court in April this
year but exports from Karnataka have yet to resume as state
authorities take time to put tracking equipment and other
safeguards against illegal mining in place.
The Supreme Court has now banned mining in three areas of
Karnataka on environmental reasons.
Mukherjee said any mining ban in Goa would hit exports from
that state too.
"If you see Goa's contribution, then you can work out what
impact a ban can have on exports," Mukherjee said.
India, which wants to conserve iron ore for its domestic
steel industry, hiked export duty in its last budget in February
while freight rates were hiked 50 percent in January.
Iron ore prices slumped 31 percent in October but have
recouped most of that in the last couple of weeks, and a sharply
weaker rupee against the dollar could also help India's exports.
And although China's demand for steel is still sluggish, the
world's biggest iron ore consumer has piled up record stocks
ahead of the winter there.
Sesa Goa's shares ended down nearly 7 percent to 171.25
rupees on a slightly weaker stock market on Monday, on
expectations iron ore spot prices might fall again this week
after their recent rally.
(Writing by Jo Winterbottom; Editing by Subhadip Sircar)