JSW Steel eyes on 5-6 Mines in Odisha, Merchant Miners fights back

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By Anurjay Dhal

BHUBANESWAR: In total there were 18 mines in Odisha that are being auctioned, out of which, 5-6 were on JSW Steel’s radar, sources manning the online bidding process revealed on Thursday. The move however worried several leading Merchant miners and they are fighting last war to defend their running mines under Joda-Koira circle of State’s mineral rich Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts.

JSW SteelNSE 2.51 % has bagged its third iron ore mine in Odisha at Ganua through an e-auction, with a reserve of 118 million tonnes (MT). The company is committed to pay 132% of its sale value to the Odisha Government. The company previously won two other iron ore mines in Odisha, Nuagaon and Narayanaposhi with a total reserve of 790 MT and 190 MT respectively.

JSW Steel, which has an annual capacity of 18 million tonne, had also won six category C- mines in Karnataka last year.

The company has already won three and was the bidding for Jilling Block of 70 MT reserve held by Essel Mining and Industries Ltd, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group but lost to Mahavir Prasad Agarwal led Shyam Ore .

In JSW’s perspective, they are on the right track. With Odisha and Karnataka put together they have secured around 20 MT of iron ore production but their requirement will be 40 MT.

JSW Steel’s Bhushan Power & Steel acquisition hangs in a fine balance with the NCLAT expected to take a decision within a month.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, which concluded hearings earlier this week, has to decide if JSW Steel can get immunity from an investigation on earlier promoters of Bhushan Power & Steel (BPSL).Executives from the industry say that the Tribunal may take a decision by March 4.

JSW Steel approached the courts for immunity after the Enforcement Directorate had attached BPSL’s assets in October, as a part of its investigations into money siphoning allegations against the earlier promoters and the ED, may approach the Apex Court if the NCLAT decision doesn’t go their way.

With Serajuddin & Co retained their Balada Block and Mahavir Prasad Agarwal led Shyam Ore snatched away Jilling Block of 70 MT reserve from Essel Mining and Industries Ltd, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group, leading Merchant miners Rungta Mines Ltd and all its subsidiaries are gearing up to defend their running mines. Sources said, top brasses of RML group are estimating profit and loss if they go high to defend their mines.  

The Odisha Government so far till Thursday morning has auctioned as many as 6 Iron Ore Mines blocks under Joda-Koira circle of State’s mineral rich Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts. As many as 21 mines to be auctioned those expiring by March 31, 2020.

Official sources manning the online bidding process , however informed that, so far, out of 6 mines auctioned, Sajjan Jindal led JSW Steel topped the list with 3 major mines including Nuagoan and Ganua blocks of KJS Ahluwalia and Prashant Ahluwalia Brothers and Narayanposhi block of Naman Saraf led Aryan Mining and Trading Corporation Ltd under Joda-Koira circle.

Meanwhile, Serajuddin and Co has so far the only merchant miners, which gave a befitting reply to Big Steel makers and surprised many and finally retained Balda iron ore block in Keonjhar.

Most shocking development during the auction that, Essel Mining and Industries Ltd, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Group lost to a small time Kolkata based Mahavir Prasad Agarwal led Shyam Group. The EMIL held Jilling-Langalota Iron Ore Block in Odisha’s Keonjhar will be now under control of Shyam Ore.

Laxmi Mittal led ArcelorMittal India Pvt Ltd had won Thakurani iron ore block- from Ahluwalia brothers in Keonjhar.

In the ongoing bidding, the most suffered mine owners were Ahluwalia Brothers as they lost control over 3 major mines of Nuagaon, Ganua and Thakurani. It may be mentioned here that, the same Ahluwalia Brothers with B Prabhakaran of Thriveni Earth Movers were playing their cards. With Ahluwalia Brothers are losing the ground  in Joda-Koira circle, it would also hit B Prabhakaran’s mining contract business, sources said.

“What we were indicating that Miners should Bid aggressively to retain their mines, now after Serajuddin and Co retained Balda mines, this may be a game changer for other miners like Rungta Mines Ltd  and miners should come forward to retain their mines. And it was a very bold step by Serajuddin and Co,” said an Industry expert in Bhubaneswar.

Sources said, RML also may have planning for aggressive bidding to retain their mines. RML has major mines under Joda-Koira mining circle of Odisha’s Keonjhar and Sundargarh district.

“Since 3 major forts of Ahluwalia Brothers have came out of their hands , they are now fighting for the battle of self-respect to save their empire, the aggressive bidding by Serajuddin and Co might have inspired them to go up to any extent,” said a Joda-Barbil based Industrialist.

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