July 17, 2015 1:14 pm Published by

Jharkhand to start auction process for mineral mines in a month

Mineral-rich Jharkhand will start the process for auctioning of mines within a month, state Chief Minister Raghubar Das said today.

Besides, the Chief Minister also affirmed his commitment to Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for setting up the ultra mega steel plant in the state, which will require 3,000 acres of land and an assured reserve of 200 million tonnes (MT) of iron ore, an official statement said today.

“Das assured Singh that District Mineral Foundation will be constituted within a month’s time and work for auctioning of mining leases will begin within the same time,” the statement said.

Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar; Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Jharkhand, Sanjay Kumar and senior officials of Ministry of Mines, Jharkhand government and related PSUs also attended the meeting.

Tomar, as per statement, handed over the detailed exploration reports of 10 blocks of Jharkhand to Das in New Delhi.

The reports, prepared as part of Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd’s (MECL) promotional exploration, include reports for 7 copper blocks and 3 gold blocks.

Tomar said, “The MMDR Act was amended in January 2015 to harness the immense mining potential of mineral rich states like Jharkhand. It is now incumbent on us to expedite the process and realise its benefits.”

He urged Das and senior officials of the state and ministry to focus on implementation and create visible change in the status of mining and the welfare of peripheral and tribal population.

The statement said in January Tomar had provided Jharkhand Chief Minister with 14 regional exploration reports, comprising 12 for bauxite and 2 for gold, and 2 detailed exploration reports for limestone.

“Currently equipped with detailed exploration reports for 12 blocks, Jharkhand is in a position to start auctioning mining leases for these blocks. As for the regional exploration reports of 14 blocks, the state has an option to either go in for auctioning of leases for carrying out PL-cum-ML (prospecting license-cum-mining license), or to go in for detailed exploration.

MECL Ltd CMD Gopal Dhawan highlighted Jharkhand’s hidden potential in gold and suggested that the state could begin auctioning of PL-cum-ML of the mineral since it is a non-notified one.

Steel Minister Tomar also offered the help of parastatal exploration agencies such as Geological Survey of India (GSI) and MECL in assisting the state in exploration work.

Referring to the successful auctioning of coal blocks in recent past, Tomar said the state could utilise the expertise of MSTC Ltd, a PSU under the Ministry of Steel, which had provided the digital platform to carry out the auctioning of coal blocks.

According to Tomar, MSTC CMD S K Tripathi has expressed his willingness to visit the state at the earliest to help in the process.

Last month, Jharkhand government had signed an MoU with NMDC for setting up a 6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) integrated steel plant, through the special purpose vehicle (SPV) route, in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While discussing about the requirements of the SPV, Tomar intimated Das that the steel plant will require 3,000 acres of land and an assured reserve of 200 MT of iron ore, preferably on allotment basis, the statement said.

Aluminium industry meets government, seeks 10% import duty on Chinese imports

The Aluminium Association of India (AAI), the industry body of Indian aluminium producers, met the Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs on Thursday, seeking government action to protect the cheap imports and crushing meltdown in global prices by imposing an import duty of 10%.

The delegation also proposed a protectionist policy of mandating Indian buyers to purchase the products of Indian aluminium producers. The association said the new projects set up by Indian players, which could double aluminium production in the country, were functioning at less than the capacity.

Total imports to India have surged by over 159% to 1,563 kilo tonne (KT) in 2015 as against the import of 881 KT in 2011, according to AAI. The association said that imports, mainly from China and Middle-East countries, accounted for 56% of Indian aluminium consumption in the last financial year, while products of Indian producers account for only 44%.

AAI added that the situation has worsened further due to continuously sliding international prices in recent years. “In last three years, aluminium prices on London Metal Exchnage have come down by 35% to $1660 per tonne in June, 2015 from a peak of $2555 per tonne witnessed in June, 2011,” the statement said.

AAI President and BALCO’s vice chairman S.K Roongta headed the delegation. Abhijit Pati, CEO at Vedanta Aluminium and Hindalco’s deputy managing director Satish Pai were also part of the delegation.

Posco puts Odisha steel plant on hold

Posco, South Korea’s biggest steelmaker, has put on hold plans to build a steel plant in India after land acquisition and farmer protests stalled the $12 billion project for a decade.

The project in Odisha has been “tentatively postponed,” chief executive officer Kwon Oh Joon said on Wednesday. Until Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “offers better deals, we won’t resume and for now we will head to the west and do more downstream work,” he said, referring to a plant the company operates in Maharashtra.

Posco’s 12-million tonne-a-year Odisha project, which was the nation’s biggest foreign investment, failed to take off because of opposition from local farmers and the failure to secure iron ore mining leases, initially promised for free to the company.

The federal government in January decided it would auction all mineral resources, including iron ore and limestone. That meant Posco had to bid for securing iron ore blocks, which increased costs.

The steelmaker was eventually able to overcome local opposition and get the state to acquire about 2,700 acres of land for the first phase in 2013.

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This post was written by Atlantic Admin