The Business Line reported that Steel Ministry has written to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs seeking exemption of export duty on iron-ore pellets sold by the state owned pellet producer KIOCL in overseas markets as export duty is impacting operations of the company and has also hit foreign exchange earnings. KIOCL had announced suspension of operations at its pellet plant at Mangalore in view of unviable operation due to levy of duty on export of pellets on 7 June, after the government imposed an export duty of 45% on iron-ore pellets.BusinessLine report cited Steel Ministry’s official as saying “KIOCL being a shore-based plant with captive berth and mechanized loading facilities can import high grade iron ore from off shore sources and supply pellets to foreign countries as DR grade pellets where the iron content is 66% typically. This shall help preserve the iron ore resources of the country and in turn shall earn foreign exchange. Exempting KIOCL from payment of export duty for export of pellets manufactured from imported iron ore will enable KIOCL to continue its business of utilizing its plant and earn foreign exchange.”Formerly known as the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company, the KIOCL is a PSU under the Ministry of Steel and is an export oriented unit. Its foreign exchange earnings in the last three years has been INR 1,277 crore in 2019-20, INR 1,759 crore in 2020-21 and INR 2,810 crore in 2021-22, respectively.