Iron ore imports sink 78% in Q1
The shipment data, coupled with a 9.1 per cent drop in iron ore imports by top buyer China in June, is expected to drag on global prices of the steel-making raw material that have already shed more than 12 percent so far this year.
India has historically produced enough iron ore to meet its domestic demand, but imports by Asia's third-largest economy tripled to 3 million tonnes in the year ended March 31 after output from top producing states Karnataka and Odisha fell due to a court-mandated clampdown on illegal mining.
Production has since picked up following steps such as mining outside allotted areas. A 30 per cent duty on exports made more iron ore available.
India imported 185,113 tonnes of iron ore in the quarter ended June 30, according to figures from the agency that tracks the data, down from 826,372 tonnes a year ago.
Final data is expected by end-August, said the official at the DGCIS.
India was third-largest exporter of iron ore globally, shipping about 98 million tonnes, or 47 per cent of total production, in fiscal 2011.
The country's output of iron ore is estimated to have fallen to about 140 million tonnes in the year ended March 31, from 207 million in 2011, after a ban on mining in Karnataka and Goa. Output was 167.3 million tonnes for fiscal 2012.