Orissa may stop non serious players from exploiting mineral reserves

Orissa's steel and mines department is undertaking a complete review of the status of leases of iron ore deposits, before framing its much awaited mineral policy. It will also carry out intensive mineral exploration and assessment of the state's mineral resources.


Mr Ashok Dalwai steel and mines secretary said "We want to ensure long term supply of iron ore to small, medium and other steel and iron industries to provide them a level playing field and also enhance their comfort level regarding raw material security."


Orissa also faces the problem of having non serious players as borne out by the fact that most private companies that were given mining leases in the past, have either remained idle or have failed to set up value added units till date.


So far, the Orissa government has leased out 3,133 million tonne of ore to private companies and another 766 million tonne to government run agencies.


Of the 49 with whom MoUs have been signed, only 28 units so far have reached partial production stage. Since Orissa has a policy which says that value addition is a precondition to the granting of a mining lease, at least 50% of 135 iron mining leases may not ultimately be renewed.


However, Orissa has so far stitched up 49 MoUs with steel manufacturers to produce about 76 million tonne per annum of steel and for this, the iron ore requirement will be around 3,120 million tonne over a period of 25 years. The state now produces 10 million tonne per annum of steel of different grades per year.


(Economic Times, 24 Jul 2009)