Timeline - India's moves to curb iron ore mining, exports

SINGAPORE Thu Jan 2, 2014 3:13am IST

A truck passes through an open pit of the Bedara Bhommanahalli (BBH) iron ore mines at Chitradurga in Karnataka November 9, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

A truck passes through an open pit of the Bedara Bhommanahalli (BBH) iron ore mines at Chitradurga in Karnataka November 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/Files

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - India, in its crusade against illegal mining, has choked its iron ore output and exports so hard that many companies are giving up on the sector.

The mining and export bans in the key states of Goa and Karnataka have brought miners and other businesses to their knees, forced steelmakers to buy iron ore abroad and seen hundreds of thousands laid off.

Following is a timeline of key developments in India's iron ore sector since Karnataka introduced its shipments ban:

2010 July 26 - Karnataka, governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), bans shipments of iron ore. The state government had faced pressure from the Congress-led central government to clamp down on illegal mining. Exporters in the state subsequently challenged the ban.

September - Iron ore exports post their sharpest monthly fall in nearly two years after the ban on Karnataka, dropping 47 percent from a year earlier to 3.03 million tonnes.

November 19 - Karnataka's high court upholds the ban on shipments. State governments can decide on shipments or movements of resources, but only the central government can agree a ban on exports.

2011 January 25 - Indian Railways announce an increase in freight costs on iron ore for export of 50 percent to 1,500 rupees per tonne.

February 28 - India hikes export duties on iron ore to 20 percent from 5 percent for fines and from 15 percent for lumps in its annual budget.

March 3 - Freight rates are hiked again, this time by 100 rupees per tonne to 1,600 rupees.

March 30 - The Railways says it will impose a "busy season" charge of 7 percent on iron ore freight rates from April 1 to June 30 and from October 1 to March 31. The charge was estimated to equate to about 150-200 rupees per tonne.

April 5 - The Supreme Court orders Karnataka to lift its ban on iron ore shipments from April 20.

June 27 - Iron ore exporter Mineral Enterprises Ltd says it will ask the Supreme Court to uphold the lifting of the Karnataka ban, which has been delayed by an inquiry into illegal mining.

July 27 - An independent inquiry implicates B.S. Yeddyurappa, a prominent BJP politician and chief minister of Karnataka, in a $3.6 billion illegal iron ore mining scandal.

July 29 - The Supreme Court imposes an interim ban on mining in the district of Bellary, an iron-ore rich region in Karnataka, on concerns over environment degradation.

July 31 - Yeddyurappa resigns as Karnataka chief minister.

August 5 - The Supreme Court partially lifts the iron ore mining ban in Bellary district, allowing NMDC (NMDC.NS) to mine up to 1 million tonnes a month from August 6.

August 26 - The top court expands the mining ban to Tumkur and Chitradurga, two districts in Karnataka.

December 12 - India's top iron ore producing state, Odisha, stops issuing export permits for iron ore cargoes shipped via two small ports, Gangavaram and Kakinada.

December 30 - India hikes export duties on iron ore fines and lumps to 30 percent.

2012 April 20 - The top court partially allows the restart of Category A mines or mines of more than 50 hectares in Karnataka.

September 3 - The top court allows 18 mines to resume iron ore mining in Karnataka state after a suspension of over a year.

September 11 - The state of Goa halts iron ore mining after an expert panel formed by the federal government found "serious illegalities and irregularities" in mining operations.

September 12 - Following the mining ban, India suspends environmental clearances given to 93 iron ore mines in Goa.

October 5 - The Supreme Court suspends iron ore transport in Goa.

November 7 - Tata Steel (TISC.NS), India's largest private steelmaker, says it expects to amicably resolve the issue of a large fine imposed by the Odisha government for failing to stick to mining norms in the state. Media reports said the Odisha government has fined Tata Steel and other firms for exceeding the annual limit on iron ore extraction from its mines in the state.

2013 April 18 - The Supreme Court gives conditional go-ahead to mining in Karnataka but strips about 49 mines of their leases because they had been mining illegally.

November 11 - The Supreme Court maintains ban on iron ore mining in Goa but allows the sale of 11.46 million tonnes of material that sat in stockpiles.

(Compiled by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Krishna Das)

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