BHUBANESWAR: Faced with acute raw material shortage, ferrochrome manufacturers of the State on Monday made a strong plea to extend operations of chromite mining leases upto March 31, 2020 as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR), 2015.
Three leading steel and ferrochrome makers including Ratan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director of Jindal Stainless, Vishal Agarwal, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of VISA Steel and J Ramesh, Executive Vice-President, Nava Bharat Ventures Limited (NBV) met Chief Secretary GC Pati and discussed issues related to chrome ore mining and problems faced by ferrochrome plants in the State.
They drew the attention of the Chief Secretary to the acute shortfall of chrome ore and ore concentrates for their units due to closure of some key chromite mines.
They urged the State Government to extend the validity of closed chromite mines like they did for iron ore mines, which were closed following the Supreme Court order last year.
“Extend the chrome ore mining leases (where chrome ore has been used for other than captive purpose) upto March 31, 2020 as per MMDR Amendment Act to increase production and availability of chrome ore/ concentrates for ferrochrome plants in Odisha,” stated the memorandum submitted to the Chief Secretary.
They further suggested the State Government to direct Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) to increase production from existing operating and non-operating chrome ore mines and also increase production of chrome concentrates.
The State Government should ensure long-term agreements for meeting the ore demand from OMC’s south Kaliapani mines and other private lessees to ferrochrome plants in the State at viable prices, they said.
“Ensure level playing field by granting chrome ore and manganese ore mines to ferrochrome plants through auction,” the memorandum stated.
They requested the State Government to move the Centre for inclusion of chrome ore and manganese ore in the list of minerals to be auctioned for end use ferrochrome and manganese alloy plants.
Stating that transport cost from Sukinda chrome ore mining belt to plants was abnormally high, they urged the State Government to reduce the cost by breaking the nexus between influential locals and transport associations by notifying the transport rates.
Tata Steel, Mishrilal Mines and BC Mohanty have been major suppliers of chrome ore and concentrate to Odisha-based ferrochrome plants. The non-captive ferrochrome units of the State are facing a shortfall of over one million tonne of ore as against their annual requirement of 1.4 million tonne.