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

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IMF managing director Christine Lagarde gives a speech at a special forum preceding in Tokyo.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde gives a speech at a special forum preceding in Tokyo.

A two-year old ban on iron ore exports from Karnataka which has halved shipments from the world's No. 3 supplier will take centre stage at an industry gathering in Bangalore this week as pressure mounts to lift the restriction.

Following is a timeline of key developments in India's iron ore sector since Karnataka, the country's second-largest producer, introduced its shipments ban:


July 26, 2010 -- Karnataka, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, bans shipments of iron ore. The state government had faced pressure from the ruling Congress-led federal 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 Karnataka's ban and slow China demand. Exports drop 47 percent from a year earlier to 3.03 million tonnes.

November 19 -- Karnataka's high court upholds the ban on exports.

November 23 -- Iron ore miners in the state say they will challenge the ban in the Supreme Court.


January 11, 2011 -- Top iron ore producing state Orissa says it is considering seeking a ban on exports of the key raw material.

January 20 -- The Supreme Court delays its decision on the ban to mid-February.

January 25 -- The railways announce an increase in freight costs on iron ore for export by 50 per cent to Rs 1,500 per tonne.

January 29 -- The Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) and Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) launch the world's first iron ore futures contracts. But a ban on foreign players means liquidity is low.

February 10 -- Steel Authority of India (SAIL) wins environmental approval for its own iron ore mines in Jharkhand. SAIL says it will be operating in three years and will be key to its future iron ore supply.

February 11 -- The Supreme Court again adjourns its hearing on the Karnataka ban, this time to April 4.

February 18 -- The Chhattisgarh joins Odisha in seeking central government approval to ban iron ore exports.

February 28 -- The government hikes export duty on iron ore to 20 per cent from 5 per cent for fines and from 15 per cent for lumps in its annual budget.

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

March 30 -- Indian Railways says it will impose a "busy season" charge of 7 per cent on iron ore freight rates from April 1 to June 30 and from October 1 to March 31. The charge will equate to about Rs 150-200 per tonne, one trader says.

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

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

July 27 -- An independent-led inquiry implicates B.S. Yediyurappa, chief minister of Karnataka, in a $3.6 billion illegal iron ore mining scandal.

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

July 31 -- Yediyurappa resigns as Karnataka chief minister.

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

August 26 -- The top court extends 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.


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

May 4 -- Odisha mulls a 4 per cent cut in its output to curb illegal mining.

Copyright @Thomson Reuters 2012