MAC: Mines and Communities

Over the past months an unprecedented number of iron ore/steel, bauxite (and now chromite) proposals

Published by MAC on 2005-09-06

Over the past months an unprecedented number of iron ore/steel, bauxite (and now chromite) proposals have been made in India. They are coming at such a rate, and with such lack of warning or foresight, that one might suspect companies and some politicians of seeking both to bombast and blast their way against the opposition - even violating the country's constitution in the process.

But the industry and its lobbyists are not going to have it all their own way.

New iron ore mining policy on the cards

The Hindu Businessline

Sept. 5 2005

Kolkata - The Union Ministry of Mines is actively considering the introduction of a new iron ore mining policy for ensuring easy availability of ore by iron and steel manufacturers in the non-iron ore-bearing States.

Indicating this, Mr Amit Kiran Deb, West Bengal Chief Secretary, said that the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, had recently been informed of the development during a meeting with the Prime Minister in Delhi. Mr Deb said that prospective investors were at present finding it difficult to set up steel plants in non-ore bearing States because the iron-ore States had taken a stand against allowing ore to move out from their States if the steel plants were not located in their territory. In fact, this sort of stand posed a problem for implementation of the O.P.Jindal group's proposal of a 4.5 million - tonne-per-annum capacity steel project in West Bengal.

Mr Deb said that although the State Government had been assured by the Jharkhand Government that iron ore would be supplied to the Jindal group, the Centre's new iron ore policy would encourage fresh investors to enter the steel sector in non-iron ore bearing Sstates. It may be noted that almost all iron ore bearing states do not have the necessary infrastructure required to set up large modern steel plants.

Addressing an interactive session on 'Visions for industrial resurrection of West Bengal,' organised here on Monday by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mr Deb said that the State Chief Minister had recently urged the Prime Minister to direct the Union Ministry of Coal and Coal India Ltd (CIL) to hand over abandoned large coal mines under the jurisdiction of CIL in the state to West Bengal Mineral Development Corporation (WBMDC) so that coal still available in these mines could be utilised by the corporation to meet the requirement of steel and sponge iron projects.

He said that West Bengal was undergoing a steady industrial resurgence although it was finding it difficult to arrange for adequate land to set up new industries. About 76,000 registered companies were at present operating in the State while new investment proposals were coming in sectors like IT and ITES, food processing, leather, steel and tourism. Among the certain negative factors in the State vis-à-vis new investments were inadequate infrastructure, militant trade union activity and the State's weak financial position, he added.

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