BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has expressed reservations on the draft rules issued by Centre for auction of mineral reserves under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Ordinance 2015 stating that it would lose out under the proposed parameters.
The draft rules recently circulated among the States have mandated proven mineralisation before putting the mines up for auction. “If we follow the rules, we cannot have any auction for next two to three years,” State Steel and Mines Secretary RK Sharma said here on Monday.
Attending the third edition of Minerals and Metals Conclave organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Sharma said Odisha does not have a single virgin mineral block that has reached G1 stage.
Under the norms, G4 is a stage where reconnaissance survey has been undertaken and G3 where preliminary survey has been completed. In G2, exploration has been done to evaluate mineral deposits below the crust and G1 is the final stage where mineral reserves are proven.
“In around two to three iron ore and as many bauxite cases, we have reached G2. The rest, a large number, are in G3 and G4 stages. The process of progressing from these stages to G1 would take not less than two to three years,” he said.
The case of existing mines is also similar as the proposed rules have stipulated proving mineralisation which translates to conduct of GI assessment for them again before putting them up for auction. This will hurt the State Government severely as it cannot fulfil the promises made to industries in terms of material supply, he rued.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Steel and Mines Prafulla Kumar Mallik called for devising strategies to meet the increasing demand of raw materials in the face of such challenges.
The conclave attended by industry heads deliberated on issues like grant of iron ore lease for end-use plants that have already been set up in the State, implementation of fair pricing system for iron ore e-auction, increase in iron ore production and facilitating adequate linkage to plants, ensuring availability of chrome ore and concentrates to Odisha-based plants and addressing logistics problems like transportation costs.
Chairman of ICC, Odisha Chapter and vice-chairman and managing director of Visa Steel Ltd Vishal Agarwal drew attention of the Government to problems faced by the industry due to lack of raw material supply.
In the steel sector, Odisha has seen an investment of `108,000 crore with sponge iron capacity of 9.95 million tonne, blast furnace capacity of 3.9 million tonne and steel making capacity of 18.9 million tonne. But many steel and ferro chrome plants are suffering heavy loss for want of iron ore and chromite ore at fair and economically viable prices, he said.
Among others, CMD, Mesco Steel Ltd Rita Singh, executive director, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd Manish Kharbanda, managing director, Aarti Steels Ltd Rajeev Mittal and DG ICC Rajeev Singh also spoke.