JSW Steel snatches away Jajang Iron Ore Block from RML, Sajjan Jindal bags 4 so far

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By Anurjay Dhal

BHUBANESWAR: Call it JSW Steel calling the shots. Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel bagged Jajang iron ore block in Keonjhar district by committing to pay 110 per cent of sale value of the ore to the state government. This is the fourth mines the steel firm owned during the ongoing auction.

According to sources, JSW emerged as the highest bidder for the mineral block iron ore with 39.42 million tonnes of reserves beating its competitors Serajuddin & Co, Lal Traders, Rungta Mines, Eastern Mining, JSPL and Adani. The mining lease of the block is currently with Rungta Mines and will be expired this March.

JSW Steel has already won the largest iron ore block, the Nuagaon mine, with estimated reserve of around 790 million tonnes (MT) Friday followed by winning Narayanposhi iron block with 190 MT reserve last Sunday beating players like ArcelorMittal, Vedanta, Adani etc. It has also bagged Ganua iron ore block with 118 MT at 132 per cent premium. Another plus point for the company is that all these mines are operational, the source said.

Tuesday, Serajuddin and Co retained Balda iron ore block during the auction that went on till 2.41am. ArcelorMittal India Pvt Ltd had won Thakurani iron ore block that was auctioned Monday.

After the annulment of three notices inviting tender (NIT) in October 2019 for auction of iron ore and manganese blocks because of conflicts between participating bidders, the Odisha government released an NIT for 20 iron ore and manganese blocks December 6, 2019.

While 15 of the 20 mines being auctioned predominantly have iron ore, three have both iron ore and manganese, the remaining are primarily manganese reserves.

The 18 mines containing iron ore reserves together hold 1,600 million tonne of which 33 per cent (five mines) are reserved for specified end-use (captive usage). These are old mines where leases are set to expire in March 2020.

Earlier, the Jharkhand’s Chaibasa Headquarters’ Rungta Mines Ltd, which has several mines in Odisha, on Thursday stepped up its battle to defend its  Jajang Iron Ore Block in Odisha’s mineral rich Keonjhar district, which was put for auction instead of Roida-II held by KN Ram Mines of Atha Group.  

Sources said, RML may go to any extent to defend its running mines, which has iron ore reserve of 39.42 million tonnes. Top officials of RML are monitoring the online bidding from Chaibasa in Jharkhand while Company officials both in Keonjhar-Sundargarh spending sleepless nights to defend their mines because of the aggressive bidding by some big Steel makers as well as Merchant miners.  Apart from RML,  Serajuddin & Co, Lal Traders, Rungta Mines, Eastern Mining, JSPL, Adani and JSW Steel are in the fray.

Of the 19 enlisted mines, the bidding process has been completed for six.JSW has won three blocks – Nuagaon (January 31),Narayanposhi (February 2) and Ganua (February 5) – with total ore reserve of 1098.92 million tonnes.

Shyam Ore bagged the Jilling-Langalota iron ore block in Odisha’s Keonjhar district by committing to pay 135 per cent of sale to the Odisha government on Wednesday (February 5).

On Tuesday (February 4), Serajuddin and Co retained Balda iron ore block during the auction that went past midnight (2.41 am). ArcelorMittal India Pvt Ltd had won Thakurani iron ore block notified for auction in Odisha on Monday (February 3).

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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