Mining Auction will complete on time, says Odisha Steel-Mines Minister

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By Our Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick while addressing ‘India Mining Conclave 2019’ here on Wednesday made it clear that the State Government is very much effortful it is committed to complete the auctions on time.

The Minister however informed that so far, auctions of 3 iron ore blocks, 1 manganese, 2 chromite blocks and 1 graphite block have already been completed. Auctions of another 31 Mineral blocks are in the pipeline, the minister said adding that it will be completed in a phased manner.Out of 31 blocks on offer, 27 are iron ore mines, 2 graphite and 2 manganese Mines.

Odisha Chief Secretary AK Tripathy said that the state administration has been working to ensure that there will be’no disruption’ in mineral production due to lapses of mining leases in March, 2020.

Additional Chief Secretary Steel & Mines, R K Sharma said the mining sector contributes about 10 per cent to theGSDP of Odisha till the 2018-19 fiscal. “It would not be a supply shock after March 2020. We have allowed both end user industries and merchant miners to build up stocks. Twenty four merchant mines are lapsing by 2020 and we have started the auctions process of these mines. Till now, we have completed auctions of two chromite mines,” said Sharma.

On the expiry of the mining leases of several mines in March, 2020, Sharma reiterated that the state government has already started the process for fresh auction of mines with the sole intention of providing uninterrupted supply of raw materials to the industries.

Meanwhile, mineral-based industries and miners in Odisha have expressed concern over the supply of raw materials to their plants as the lease period of 24 major mines will come to an end on March 31, 2020.

Odisha has successfully auctioned two lapsing chromite leases — Misrilall Mines and Kamarda mines — under the leasehold of B C Mohanty. T S Alloys, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel has emerged the highest bidder for both the mines.

Odisha has 17 operative merchant iron ore mines which are producing around 55 million tonnes (mt) against the approved environment clearance (EC) limit of 80 mt.

The state boasts of the country’s largest iron ore output. In the last fiscal year, Odisha churned out 114 mt, contributing more than a half to the nationwide production of 207 mt.

The state’s iron ore output is important since it largely feeds the domestic steel plants and other dependent end-use industrial units while only a fraction (of production) is shipped overseas.

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