Doubling bauxite export duty to improve domestic supplies

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The doubling of export duty on bauxite, a key input for aluminium making, to 20 per cent will help improve availability of the raw material to the domestic producers.

"Export of any raw material from the country should be discouraged and thus, the doubling of export duty on bauxite is a welcome change," Ansuman Das, Chairman and Managing Director of state-run aluminium maker Nalco told PTI.

The move is likely to help major aluminium producers such as Nalco, Hindalco and Vedanta by improving the availability of the raw material and discourage exports.

It would also help the country in conserving the raw material for future use.

Presenting his maiden Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said,"Considering the need to conserve our natural resources, I propose to increase the export duty on bauxite from 10 per cent to 20 per cent."

Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), however, said that the move was unwarranted as India exports a meagre 2-3 lakh tonnes of bauxite a year mainly from its West coast.

These bauxites are of inferior quality and not used by the Indian industry.

According to a working group for the 12th Plan Period, the total world bauxite resources are estimated to be of the order of 55 to 75 billion tonnes. Except in Australia, bauxite reserves are mostly available in China, Brazil, India and Guinea,and Jamaica.

Besides aluminium, which consumes bulk of the bauxite production, chemical, refractory and cement industries together consume bauxite to the tune of 10–12 per cent of total production.

The total resources of bauxite in India stands at 3,290 million tonnes (MT). India occupies sixth place in the world with a share of 3.19 per cent of world reserves.

It is projected that alumina production capacity in India at the end of the 12th Plan period would be about 13.3 MT and the bauxite requirement would be about 40 MT.

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