The State Government on Tuesday constituted a three-member ministerial committee to formulate a policy to ensure smooth supply of ore to Odisha-based industries on a long-term basis.
According to a notification issued by the Steel and Mines department, the committee would suggest measures for making iron ore, manganese, bauxite and chrome ore available to mineral-based industries located in the State in a fair and equitable manner.
This would be done through the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and other mining lessees to meet ore needs.
The committee will suggest modalities for making the ore available on a sustained basis to such industries through appropriate long-term ore linkage arrangements, it said. The committee would also suggest a framework for making ore available to local industries through a transparent process.
The committee, headed by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya, would submit its report within three months. Other members of the committee are Minister for Industries Niranjan Pujhari and Minister of State for Steel and Mines (independent charge) Rajani Kant Singh.
The committee may invite any official or expert to help them find a way to solve the problem, apparently hitting the industrialisation process in the State, sources said. The Government felt the necessity of setting up such a committee after Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) faced acute raw material shortage as a result of which it is on the verge of closing down its 1 million tonne per annum refinery project at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.
The State Government, in a resolution in September, had decided to reserve the areas bearing iron ore, manganese, bauxite and chrome in the State for undertaking, prospecting or mining operation through OMC.
These, however, exclude the areas already held under any prospecting licence or mining lease or reserved by the Central Government.
As the major portion of the ore produced in the State was raised from mining leases held by private mining lessees, the Government felt that its policy of value addition could be severely affected if the local industries faced scarcity of raw materials.