India UpdatePublished by MAC on 2006-03-15
15th March 2006
Displaced get land already in possession of another company
by Aurobinda Das / Rourkela, The Pioneer
14th March 2006
Land measurement in Tainsar under Tainsar Gram Panchayat of Lathikata Block by the Revenue Department is a sample of how the rich have hijacked poor men's land.
It is to mention here that when the RSP-displaced staged an economic blockade on January 10, 2006, RDC (Northern Division) gave a written assurance to the members of the Local Displaced Association (LDA) that it would settle the problem of reclamation land by providing them with map and pattas.
Accordingly, Panposh Sub-Collector issued a notice to different tehsils to identify the land in various reclamation camps. Basing on the instruction of the Sub-Collector, the Kuarmunda tehsildar sent an amina (man who surveys and demarcates land) to execute the order in Tainsar reclamation camp where 43 families were given 154 acres of land.
However, when the measurement work started on March 8, a unique observation was made both by the amina and LDA members. Most of the land allotted were under the possession of Jai Balaji Jyoti Steels Ltd. According to the amina, about 50 acres of land were under use (possession) of factory (35 acres factory area and 15 acres of dumping area). Interestingly, the amina said he was at a loss to figure out how it happened.
The factory owner claimed he had purchased the land from the actual owners which is next to impossible. According to amina, the then tehsildar, Kuarmunda, and Sub-Registrar, Panposh, are the right persons who can answer this question.
In this regard The Pioneer tried to contact with the sarpanch, Tainsar, but in vain. However, sources said the secretary is not sure about the decision/resolution of the Gram Sabha in relation to setting up of a factory. From the version of the secretary it was clear that proper PESA was not followed before awarding NoC to the factory. Now, everyone is waiting for the RDC's meeting with the LDA and the Government officials on March 17.
LDA president Rama Chandra Sahoo said through this case the conspiracy of capitalists, administration, land mafia has come out in the open. Citing some readily available examples, Mr Sahoo said Jagannath Chik, son of Mangru Chik of Raghunath Palli Mouza, was give 1.74 acres of land vide Hal Khata No 53 and plot no. 2352/2350/2558 at Tainsar against 1.78 acres of land at RN Palli, and till now he pays land revenue. But his land is under possession of Jai Balaji Jyoti Steels Ltd.
Another incident of Dwija Pada Banerjee came to the fore. He was allotted vide plot no 2,387, 2,575 and 2,385 lands of 1.8 acres, 15 decimals and 7.36 acres, but without his knowledge the ownership changed in favour of the factory.
Similarly, Raju Singh was allotted 3.24 acres and 15 decimal lands vide plot no. 2,355 and 2,566 respectively and Guru Tanty was allotted 1.7 acres of land vide plot no 2,351 and 2,391 and 15 decimals vide plot no 2,582, but they are simply paying the land revenues though the land is under possession of the factory.
Mr Sahoo said within a few days they would be disclosing the details of the 43 families. He reiterated that they are now keeping a watch on other sponge factories too.
Farmers resist ash pond
by Statesman News Service, JAJPUR
13th March 2006
The spectre of agitation continues to haunt industrialists in Kalinga Nagar and its surrounding areas. Added to the ongoing tribal movement since 2 January, another movement by farmers was launched today.
Farmers of seven villages under Danagadi block and the Vyasanagar Municipality are up in arms against the proposed location of an ash pond of one of the steel majors in the Kalinga Nagar complex.
Residents of Kimbhirigadia, Jakhapura, Khapuriapada, Rachhipur, Mantira, Jodabara and Marthapur met at Marthapur village under the leadership Mr B Rout, Mr Gopinath Biswal, Mr Sarat Samal and others to challenge the district administration in issuing notices for land acquisition. "How can they do this when most of the people have raised objections at the public hearing held last September," they said. The meeting also expressed grave concern over how the ash pond would create health hazards to the residents of the villages after its completion.
They wondered who had empowered the government to divest farmers from their ancestral property and destroy the agriculture base of the area. "The farmers will neither receive the notice issued by the Sukinda Tahasildar, nor will they spare even an inch of land for the proposed ash pond and captive power plant of the private steel major," Gopinath Biswal, the leading farmer of Marthapur village said.
"If the district administration forcefully takes the arable land from the farmers of the seven villages, it will be a repeat the Kalinga Nagar incident," the farmers warned.
The farmers are apprehensive that once the ash pond is constructed it will not only cause inconvenience to them, both in terms of land and drinking water supply, but will also pollute the Brahmani and Kharasrota rivers. During a public hearing organised by the Orissa Pollution Control Board at Vysasnagar last year, most of the farmers who were present in the camp meeting opposed the proposed ash pond and captive power plant at Sukinda Pata region.
Mr B Rout, one of the agitating leaders regretted that neither the state government nor the steel company was helping the farmers. "We are determined to protect our livelihood," Mr Rout said.
When contacted the district collector, Mr Aurobindo Padhee however asserted that the steel company will have to abide by the rules framed by the government as well as the Pollution Control Board while constructing both the ash pond and the captive power plant.
Human habitations, life and property would be protected at any cost, he added.
Jaduguda victim highlights danger
by Deccan Chronicle, Kadapa
3rd March 2006
Organisations protesting the proposed mining for uranium in Vemula mandal of Pulivendula constituency on Friday got an activist from Jaduguda in Jharkhand, which houses a similar minimum, to explain the dangers.
Mr Sriprakash from Jaduguda told mediapersons that the jobs offered by the Uranium Corporation of India to the locals were a death trap. Those who work in the mines would be exposed to radon, a radioactive gas, for six to seven hours a day. The water sources in the area would turn radioactive due to the sludge from the mines.
He said families in Jaduguda experienced defective births, illnesses like lung infections and tuberculosis and unexplained health problems. The ore is milled to separate uranium from the other components. The components that emanate as waste cause severe health and environmental problems, he said.
The resentment against the mines in Vemula mandal is spreading to Pulivendula and other areas. "The State would have to withdraw the proposal otherwise we will launch an agitation," said Mr Obulesu, district president of the Uranium Vyathireka Porata Committee. The Left parties are in the forefront of the agitation against the proposed mine. "The entire area will become wasteland when the uranium extraction begins," Ms Jayasri of the APCLC asked.
Orissa tribals want settlement first
by Press Trust Of India / Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar
2nd March 2006
Amidst the raging debate over Orissa's industrialisation, tribal activist Tulasi Munda said rehabilitation must take place before setting up any industry.
Munda, who attended a meeting convened by the group of ministers (GoM) of the state government to record views from activists and bureaucrats to formulate a comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement policy, said industrialisation should not cause anyone to become landless.
Presenting a host of suggestions at the meeting, she said, "Let rehabilitation take place before industrialisation. Nobody should become landless because of industries are to be set up. Let the local people decide whether they want industries in their respective areas or not."
People should not also be resettled away from the industries.
Rather they should be located on the periphery of the project site to reap the benefits of industrialisation, Munda said.
`Ensure environmental balance'
by The Hindu, JAIPUR
13th March 2006
The sixth mines, environment and mineral protection week began in Udaipur on Sunday with a call to take effective measures for maintenance of environmental balance by causing minimum damage to atmosphere by the mining activities and planting a large number of trees.
The Indian Mines Bureau, Indian Soapstone Producers' Association and owners of mines are jointly observing the week in the City of Lakes.
Rajasthan Forest and Environment Minister Laxminarain Dave, inaugurating the week, said the conservation of environment would prevent disasters such as drought, earthquakes and tsunami.
Mr. Dave asked the owners of mines to compensate for the damage caused to environment by planting trees and look after their growth. He said the State Government was taking steps to resolve all the difficulties faced by owners of quarries.
Kiran Maheshwari, MP from Udaipur, said the mining industry should be developed with the emphasis on environment protection.
The Mines Controller of northern region of Indian Mines Bureau, V.K. Arora, said the exploitation of minerals should be undertaken in a systematic and scientific manner.
The president of Indian Soapstone Producers' Association, G.S. Soni, said those owning and operating quarries should not be treated as "enemies of environment''.
Prizes were distributed to the representatives of mines in various fields on the occasion, with the award for excellence going to the Jhamarkotda rock phosphate mine of the public sector Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Limited.
Illegal mining in Jawahar Sagar sanctuary: NGO
21st February 2006
Illegal mining was being carrried out in Jawahar Sagar sanctuary, known as one of the best-protected and important sanctuaries, an NGO alleged today.
In absence of poor surveillance and irregular checks by the forest and mining departments, the local mine mafia have been extracting invaluable sand stones which are directly exported to other countries including Netherlands, Mine Labour Protection Campaign, the NGO said in a statement here.
The NGO pointed out that the illegal mining in Jawahar Sagar sanctuary would bring a deleterious impact on environment and ecology and it would diminish wildlife like leopard, sloth, bear,hyena, king vultures sarus.
Chiefs off for slice of India
6th March 2006
CORPORATE Australia will today begin its most aggressive pitch yet to cash in on the economic boom in India, with at least one firm hoping to return from Prime Minister John Howard's trade delegation to the subcontinent with a $1 billion-plus deal in the pipeline.
Leighton Holdings offshoot Thiess is angling to be the first foreign private sector coal miner in India through a tender for a $1.3 billion long-term contract to mine coal north of Calcutta.
Thiess chief executive Roger Trundle will lobby for business in India as part of the Prime Minister's delegation, which departed yesterday. His company is the only foreign bidder for a contract to take over the operation of a mine in Raj Mahal. If it succeeds, it will be the first time a foreign company has been allowed to mine coal for the government-owned Coal India and could be a model for future deals as the Indian Government seeks ways to boost coal production.
The combination of India's rapid growth rate and its cash-strapped, inefficient, government-owned coal industry has led to an increasingly severe coal shortage, even though it has the world's third-largest reserves.
As a result, the Indian Government is considering outsourcing coal production for its power industry in a bid to generate the energy needed to maintain its economic growth, forecast at 7per cent in 2006.
INDO-AUSTRALIA COOPERATION IN MINING SECTOR Australia India thread....
14th March 2006
The India-Australia Joint Working Group on Energy and Minerals was established for enhancing bilateral co-operation in the energy and minerals sector and to stimulate the development of commercial relationships to the benefit of both the countries. The India-Australia Coal and Mining Forum was held in New Delhi in February, 2006 to enhance the collaborative relationship in the mining sector and to further facilitate information exchange and joint projects.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May, 2005 with Australia to establish a basis for cooperation in the fields of staff development and mutual beneficial exchange of information on good environmental governance and mine rehabilitation. It includes: exchange of staff, specialist and delegations, cooperation in Training and Development, exchange of scientific and technical information, joint organization of symposia, workshops and lectures and other forms of cooperation as mutually arranged between the parties.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Mines, Dr. T. Subbarami Reddy, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
Australia will not supply uranium till India signs NPT
by K. Venugopal, The Hindu
3rd March 2006
Canberra: Australia will not supply natural uranium to India as long as it does not sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), Alexander Downer, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, said in an interview here on Wednesday. He was responding to a question whether Australia saw a role for itself as a supplier of uranium to India in the event of the United States and India coming to an agreement that would help lift international sanctions on the Indian nuclear energy programme.
Speaking to a couple of visiting Indian journalists ahead of Prime Minister John Howard's trip to New Delhi next week, Mr. Downer recalled that the foundation of his country's policy on nuclear supplies was that it would export uranium only to countries that had signed the treaty. Since India had not signed the NPT, and was not going to do so soon, the export could not happen.
Nevertheless, the Australian Foreign Minister was appreciative of recent proposals emanating from India.
"Some of the proposals put forward by India, even if they do not amount to signing the NPT but only adhering to the transparency of the regime, may not be optimal but that is a step in the right direction," he remarked. A big exporter
Endowed with 40 per cent of the world's cheaply extractable uranium, Australia is a big exporter of the mineral. In recent weeks, it has been negotiating a long-term contract for supplies to China, which is embarking on a large expansion of its nuclear power capacity. China is a signatory to the NPT as a nuclear weapon state.
Russian majors eye Indian ore
by Financial Express, NEW DELHI
9th March 2006
Russia's leading metal companies Rusal and Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Company (MMK) have zeroed in on India for big-ticket investments in the aluminium and steel sectors.
The $5.25 billion MMK is poised for billions of dollars in Orissa to set up a 10 million tonne greenfield steel plant. It has sought the Centre's assistance for land procurement in the iron-ore rich state.
Alongside, Rusal, the $6.1 billion aluminium giant, has also evinced interest in investing in an aluminium venture in India. It is the world's third largest primary aluminium producer, providing primary aluminium and value-added products in 50 countries. Rusal accounts for 75% of aluminium production in Russia and 10% globally.
These, coupled with the recently announced investments by South Korean steel major Posco in Orissa and London-based Mittal Steel in Jharkhand, will make India a hot investment destination for global steel and metal companies.
For the proposed 10 mtpa facility in Orissa, MMK is expected to pump in about $10 billion, based on the investment estimates of Posco and Mittal Steel in similar-sized steel plants in the country. While Posco has proposed a $12-billion investment for its 12 mtpa steel plant, Mittal Steel is planning to invest $10 billion for an equal capacity in Jharkhand.
• Third largest global aluminium producer
• Produced 2.7 mtpa of aluminium in 2005
• Revenues topped $6 billion in 2005
• Eyes investment in aluminium plants Magnitogorsk
• Russia's largest steel company
• Had an 11.38 mtpa capacity in 2005
• Turnover in 2005 stood at $5.25 billion
• Plans 10 mtpa steel plant in Orissa
A senior government official told FE that investments by the two Russian companies have been discussed at the highest levels. "Russian industry minister Victor Khristenko has discussed the proposals with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the latter's recent visit to Moscow. The main issue from the Russian side pertains to allotment of land. New Delhi has assured facilitation of these investments," the official said.
MMK is Russia's largest steel company with total steel production of 11.38 million tonne. MMK's revenues in 2005 was $5.25 billion while its profit before tax stood at $1.41 billion. Rusal's revenues in 2005 increased 12.8% to $6.1 billion compared to $5.4 billion in 2004. While Russian companies are investing over $20 billion annually in foreign countries, their investment in India is abysmally low at $120 million a year. Both India and Russia are keen to substantially increase the bilateral trade and investment. An indication to this effect was given by Russian economic development and trade minister German Gref who said the two countries need to expand their mutual trade from $2.9 billion registered in 2005 to $10 billion before 2010.
Russian steel major to set up plant in Gopalpur
by PTI, Bhubaneswar
13th March 2006
Russian steel major 'Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel' Co., (MMK) has zeroed in on Gopalpur in Orissa's Ganjam district for setting up a 10 million tonne per annum steel project and looking for a suitable site.
"They have evinced interest for setting up a 10 mtpa capacity steel plant in the state. But we have so far agreed for 5 mpta capacity," Chairman and Managing Director of the State-run Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Orissa Ltd., (IPICOL), Priyabrata Patnaik, said.
He said, "We have told them that the State Government may consider approving capacity addition of another 5 mpta taking into account iron ore availability in future."
The Orissa government has so far signed MoU with 43 companies for manufacture of 58 mtpa steel for which around 90 million tonnes of iron ore would be required every year.
The MMK was given option of three locations -- near Dhamra, Keonjhar and Gopalpur. An MMK team visited all these sites and shown interest in Gopalpur.
Official sources said the MMK considered Gopalpur as the suitable destination because of its sea connectivity. The state government has recently entrusted Orissa Stevedores Limited for building an all weather port at Gopalpur.
The MMK, Russia's largest steel company with a total production of 11.38 million tonne, sought comprehensive information on power, water availability and other existing infrastructure, Patnaik said, adding IPICOl was in a process of compiling the data
Posco plant delay likely
by Shanghai Daily
15th March 2006
POSCO, the world's fifth-largest steelmaker, said its planned US$12 billion plant in India may be delayed because it hasn't begun buying the land needed for the project, the biggest overseas investment in the country.
Posco's 12-million-metric-ton-a-year plant in Orissa, an eastern state that holds a quarter of India's untapped iron ore, needs 1,619 hectares of land. Posco is waiting for the Orissa government to help move the 200 families on the land to a new location, said Jeong Tae-Hyun, who heads the project.
Delays in allocating land may undermine India's efforts to win more investments, leaving the South Asian nation short of the raw materials needed for an economy forecast to grow at 8.1 percent this year.
Tata Steel Ltd, India's No. 2 steelmaker, in January halted work at its planned 6-million-ton plant in Orissa after a clash between villagers and the police killed 13 people.
"We're not willing to take any chances after what happened at the Tata Steel site," Jeong, managing director of Posco India, said yesteday in New Delhi. "The project has been delayed but we hope to keep it within the target schedule."
Posco in December said it expected to complete the first phase of the plant, allowing for annual output of 4 million tons, by December 2010.
Mittal Steel Co, the world's biggest steelmaker, and Posco plan to spend US$21 billion over the next seven years in India because of rising local demand and access to the world's sixth-largest iron ore reserves. Record steel production last year led to a 71.5 percent jump in iron ore prices.
Building steel mills and tapping iron ore deposits require relocation of villages and environmental permits.
Protests over Posco land ministers on car roof
12th March 2006
Bhubaneswar: Two Orissa ministers had to clamber to the roof of their vehicles and plead with people to let them go after hundreds of villagers surrounded them protesting South Korean giant Posco's mega steel project here.
Panchayati Raj Minister Damodar Rout and Revenue minister Manmohan Samal were on their way to address a public meeting Tuesday at Gadakujanga village near the proposed site of the plant to persuade people to support it.
But they were obstructed for about three hours near another village, Oriya daily The Samaja reported Wednesday. The protestors shouted slogans and lay down on the road preventing the ministerial convoy from proceeding, it said.
The ministers in a bid to save their skin climbed on to the roof of their vehicles, appealing to people to make way for them, the local media reported.
"People obstructed us for about one hour," Rout told IANS. "But when we convinced them, and they allowed us to proceed," he said. "We addressed the scheduled meeting, which was attended by more than 8,000 people," he said.
The $12 billion plant by South Korea steel major Posco that will be built in Paradeep in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur by 2016 is billed as the largest foreign direct investment deal in India.
It proposes to generate direct employment for 13,000 people and indirect jobs for 35,000 others but faces resistance not only from locals but also leading social activists and several politicians.
Some oppose it for environmental reasons while others say it will displace a large number of people. Noted social activist Medha Patkar says at least 10,000 villagers who depend on betel farming will lose their livelihood.
Posco project: Women lock RI office
24th February 2006
PARADIP: Hundreds of women, protesting the proposed Posco project, on Thursday locked the Revenue Inspector's (RI) office at Nuagaon Circle, demanding cancellation of MoUs signed between the State Government and the South Korean company for setting up a steel plant here. Sources said Rashtriya Yuba Sangthan and Nav Nirman Samiti have been staging dharanas and hunger strikes in front of Nuagaon RI office since December 15.
Noted environmentalist Medha Patkar who had visited them earlier exhorted the people to remain united and told them not to spare an inch of land for the project. They also threatened to paralyse the RI office by sealing the office.
Meanwhile, Panchayatiraj Minister Damodar Rout and Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal faced protests by thousands of women and were not allowed to conduct an awareness meeting on the plant at Gadakujanga on Wednesday.
Sources said that both the Ministers had decided to conduct a public meeting on building awareness and rehabilitation of the affected people of Dhinkia, Naugaon and Gadakujanga area. Distribution of leaflets provoked thousands of villagers to stage a dharna. They also slept on the road to prevent the Ministers from entering the village.
The villages complained that Rout did not grant them audience at Bhubaneswar for discussing the issue. They questioned how the Revenue Minister came when the latter was not connected with the steel plant.
The Ministers later conducted a roadside meeting at Balitutha Bridge, eliciting support to the project. None from BJD turned up to show solidarity with the Ministers. The meeting was organised under the banners of Bhumiputra Sangram Sansad and Posco Jan Sampark Samiti.
Patkar joins in protests against POSCO
by NDTV, (Paradip)
13th February 2006
After the Kalinga Nagar clashes, the POSCO steel plant in Orissa could become the flashpoint of a new controversy over displacement. Locals are protesting against the proposed $12 million steel plant near Paradip. Social activist Medha Patkar joined in support of the protesters. She was accompanied by a host of senior Sarvoday leaders on a padayatra campaign across several villages in the Paradip-Kujang belt. They were also protesting against a proposed private port near Paradip. The $12 million steel plant to be set up by the South Korean steel major will displace several villages in the area. The state government has agreed to provide 4000 acres of land for the plant. The protesters allege that the project will destroy the rich agricultural economy of the area.
Medha Patkar was a big hit with the women folk. She preferred personal interaction with the local people to holding rallies and public meetings. "POSCO's economics is against the country. This is not development, this is not economically viable and the state has mortgaged all its rights. "There is no agreement reached with the local people or even the state assembly. There's all concession in favour of POSCO and none to the people," said Patkar. Patkar has pledged her unqualified support for the people's resistance movement that is fast building up against the South Korean giant.
India to source diamonds from Canada
13th March 2006
New Delhi: India and Canada have agreed to cooperate in diamond mining on a mutually beneficial basis with the former investing in the latter's diamond mines for sourcing of rough diamonds. The emerged after a meeting between Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Province of Ontario, Joseph Cordiano here Tuesday, according to an official statement. Kamal Nath mooted the idea of investing in diamond mines in Canada for sourcing of rough diamonds, which could be then cut and polished in India for exports. He explained how India had become a top exporter of cut and polished diamonds in the world, while there was good scope for Canadian mines being tapped for roughs. Both ministers underlined the potential for expanding trade and investment ties between India and Canada. Cordiano said Ontario would welcome increased Indian investment in different sectors. Although bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown from $685 million in 1992 to $2.13 billion in 2004, India's share in Canada's imports is only about 0.5 percent. India is the 37th largest source of direct investment in Canada, with more than half of it being in pulp and paper.
UK mining giants wait for policy signal Keen on a manufacturing unit for equipment in India
by Business Standard / Kolkata
9th March 2006
UK mining outfits are now zeroing in on India. Baldwin & Francis Ltd. (B&F), one of the leading mining equipment companies in UK, is contemplating to float an Indian subsidiary for penetrating to India. Joy Mining Machinery, a global mining equipment outfit which has already presence in India, would soon bid for more coal blocks for equipment supply and production consultancy. The company has already supplied a continuous miner system to Chirimri mine of South Eastern Coalfields and Tandsi mine in Western Coalfields. B&F and Joy were members of a British mining delegation headed by director general of Association of British Mining Equipment Companies, Philip Deakin. The delegation was in Kolkata on Wednesday to met local mining companies. Deakin said that India appeared to be in the transition phase as far as mining industry was concerned. "We are now closely observing the changes here. Once we feel the state is ready, the British companies will definitely grab that opportunity," he said. The managing director of B&F, Dave Pattinson, said the company was currently assessing the potential in the Indian mining industry. "We might float a subsidiary here," he said. Pattinson pointed out that if the opportunity in India expanded rapidly in the future, Baldwin might look for a manufacturing base here as well. The company currently had a manufacturing base in China. The managing director of the Indian subsidiary of Joy Mining, N Dutta, said that the company recently bagged two new mining contracts in Singareni in southern India and Jhara mine of Eastern Coalfields. "We are not only supplying the technology and equipment but also helping in coal production," he said. Joy would be getting a service charge against the production from each field. "Coal India has set a minimum production target of 0.3 million ton from each mine, but we have already surpassed that," he said. The company was now producing 0.8 million ton of coal from the two mines. Dutta said that the company would be bidding for projects from Eastern Coalfields and Central Coalfields. Joy currently operated at projects in China, South Africa, USA, Australia and Russia. It reported a global turnover of around $2 billion last year.
Ratan to steer Jindal global foray
by The Business Standard
21st February 2006
In what is seen as Jindal Stainless' "first step in looking out for global opportunities", Ratan Jindal, vice-chairman and managing director, is set to head the company's newly formed subsidiaries in Dubai and London.
The company has already formed a wholly owned subsidiary in London which will be called Jindal Stainless UK.
The Dubai-based subsidiary, to be set up within three weeks, will be called Jindal Stainless FZE. Ratan Jindal will be the CEO of both subsidiaries.
"He will continue to head the Indian operations. But as the company draws its overseas plans, Ratan Jindal has agreed to look after the affairs of both the UK and Dubai subsidiaries. Already he is spending considerable amount of time travelling between the locations," said Arvind Parekh, director, finance. But he added that Jindal won't be "shifting to these new bases".
The subsidiaries are part of the company's long-term plans.
"Through the subsidiaries we want to explore global opportunities for expansion. We are eyeing the markets but we need to have our own infrastructure in place before we start anything. We are also looking into other synergies including marketing and tie-ups with foreign firms," said Parekh. He agreed that the company is looking at acquisitions for growth but said "it is too early to comment".
The west Asian market, which is seeing a construction boom, is emerging as an important market for Jindal's steel products.
Europe is also an important market for finished steel products, besides being a raw material hub. Jindal Stainless sources raw material from European countries including Russia.
In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange today, the company stated that it is taking steps "to enable Ratan Jindal to take over the responsibilities and obtain necessary approvals and permits under the applicable laws of the UK and Dubai respectively.
Upon receipt of all necessary approvals he will become a non-resident Indian under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999."
BHP ropes in Usha Martin for mining
by The Telegraph (Calcutta), Bhattacharya: Upbeat
10th February 2006
BHP of Australia, the world's largest miners, has teamed up with city-based Usha Martin Ltd for mining and downstream activities in Jharkhand. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Usha Martin and BHP Billiton Minerals Holding Pty on February 8 to jointly explore opportunities there. Jharkhand has a large deposit of iron ore and coal. According to a study by the Confederation of Indian Industry and McKinsey, Jharkhand has 29 and 23 per cent of India's total coal and iron ore reserves, respectively. "We are primarily looking at the iron ore mining and downstream activities in that state," a BHP official said. For Usha Martin, a leading manufacturer of wire and wire rope, it is a significant diversification in business. The company has forayed into captive mining of iron ore only in the last quarter. It is also working on a coal mine for captive use. However, mining is not its core activity. BHP has been eyeing the Indian iron ore mining leases for a long time but is yet to get a toe hold. At present, it has a marketing operation in the country, trading in minerals like coking coal and others. The company is yet to get a mining lease. There was a speculation that it will team up with Korean steel firm Posco to undertake mining activity for the latter in Orissa. However, the venture never saw the light of the day. There is a strong political lobby against engaging foreign companies in Indian mining sector and, particularly, exporting it. Usha Martin is the first company to get allocation of iron ore mine from Jharkhand. The company has a reserve of a 10 million tonne mine, which is high on iron content, in the Barbill area (VijayaII). P. Bhattacharya, deputy managing director of Usha Martin, said his company's long-standing association with Jharkhand and good track record attracted the mining giant to partner with it.
Essar Steel starts iron ore slurry pipeline
Prince Mathews Thomas / Mumbai
The Business Standard
10th March 2006
Essar Steel has commissioned the world's second longest iron ore slurry pipeline this week. The 267 km long pipeline connects the iron benficiation plant at Bailadilla, Chattisgarh to the pellet plant at Visakhapatnam and passes through the rugged terrains of Chattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
The steel major will also commission an iron-ore benefication plant with an eight million tonne capacity. Both the projects entails an investment of Rs 1,100 crore.
"The two projects were executed in a record time of two years and their commissioning marks the completion of the total integration of Essar Steel's manufacturing facilities," said a company spokesperson.
Last year, in September, the company had commissioned the cold rolling complex at its steel plant at Hazira. The world's longest slurry pipeline, which is 396 km long, is located at the Germano Mines in Brazil.
The Bailadilla pipeline, built by Essar Steel, is designed to carry 8 million tonne of slurry per annum and is expected to reduce Essar Steel's transportation cost from Rs 550 per tonne to about Rs 80 per tonne.
The pipeline will help the company save at least Rs 200 crore every year, with its capacity set to increase to 4.6 million tonne per year from the present 3 million tonne.
"It is the most environment-friendly way of transporting iron ore fines. The pipeline eliminates logistic bottlenecks, ensuring real time inventory management," said the spokesperson.
The pipeline infrastructure includes two pumping stations and a valve choking station, apart from terminalling facilities at Visakhapatnam and Bailadilla.
The pumping operation from Bailadilla to Visakhapatnam is monitored and controlled by a computerised supervisory system. The slurry pumps were supplied by Geho, Netherlands and a consortium of JSC Stroytransgaz and Essar Constructions executed the project.
The benefication plant of 8 million tonne capacity is located at Kirandul, adjacent to the Kirandul mines of National Minerals Development Corporation.
Cutting edge in diamond recce
by SANDEEP SARKAR The Telegraph (Calcutta) / Jamshedpur
27th February 2006
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) last week bagged a reconnaissance permit to carry out an aerial survey of 3,009 square kilometres for diamond and other precious minerals in the state.
JSPL is required to pay Rs 11 crore to carry out the survey over the next three years. The survey would include topographical study, land pattern, water bodies etc.
While the Jindals are known for their passion for steel and some experts feel they are fast emerging as one of the most important producers, a licence to carry out surveys for diamond has come as a surprise.
No such licence has been granted so far to De Beers, the well-known South African company, which has the experience and the expertise for diamond prospecting. The company, in fact, has been engaged in carrying out surveys in both Orissa and Chhattisgarh besides several other states.
With Jindals not known for their interest in diamonds, De Beers spokesmen smell a rat, though they refuse to make any allegation. The state government's official explanation is that the applications of both Jindals and De Beers were forwarded to the union government and it was eventually New Delhi which cleared the application. Both the applications were submitted in 2004.
Sources in the South African company, however, alleged that according to their information, the state government had made no effort to get their proposal cleared by Delhi but bent over backwards to get the go-ahead for the Jindals.
Company officials appeared peeved and indicated that they were keen to start the survey in Jharkhand. "But till we receive the permit, we have no option but to concentrate on Orissa, where we have already been issued the licence," confided a De Beers official.
Mines and geology secretary A.K. Singh, however, said the application of De Beers was also under active consideration and the state government would issue a permit to the company as soon as the proposal is cleared by the Centre. Jindals, claimed departmental sources, were just more keen than the South African company.
De Beers India Prospecting Private Limited, the Indian arm of the South African major, had applied for two reconnaissance (survey of a region) permits of carrying out surveys in Gumla and Lohardaga. The surveys have been earmarked in two areas measuring 2061 sq km and 2010 sq km respectively.
The company had planned to spend Rs 100 crore on air-borne geo-physical surveys, said company officials. It claims to have invested Rs 100 million so far in conducting surveys in other states.
Strangely, sources in the government claimed that the permit had got delayed because of the South African company's reluctance to commit that it would also undertake cutting and polishing of diamonds. De Beers is a supplier of diamonds but gets them cut and polished by "sightholders".
Officials said the government would like to follow a uniform policy of issuing permits for mineral exploration. Unless companies are willing to add value to the minerals, they cannot be allowed to take away the minerals.
In the beginning of 2003, De Beers had conducted preliminary surveys to identify fields in Gumla, Lohardaga and the banks of the Sankh river where there could be a possibility of diamonds. After identifying the prospective areas, the company submitted a detailed proposal to the government which was forwarded to the Centre for clearance.
INDIA & CANADA EXPLORING COOPERATION IN DIAMOND MINING
by Diamond Inteligence Magazine
23rd February 2006
India and Canada have agreed to explore the possibility of cooperation in the field of diamond mining on a mutually beneficial basis. This came about at a meeting between Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Joseph Cordiano, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Province of Ontario, Canada, when Nath mooted the idea of investing in diamond mines in Canada for sourcing of rough diamonds which could be then cut and polished in India for exports. He explained how India had emerged as the top exporter of cut and polished diamonds in the world, while there was good scope for Canadian mines being tapped for rough.
Both the Ministers underlined the potential for expanding trade and investment ties between India and Canada. Although annual bilateral trade between India and Canada had grown significantly over the last decade, India's share in Canada's imports is only about 0.5 percent. India is the 37th largest source of direct investment in Canada.
Karnataka to issue notifications for diamond exploration
16th February 2006
The Karnataka government has issued two notifications for exploration of diamond and associated minerals in parts of Chitradurga, Davangere and Chikmagalur districts, a top official of the mines and geology department said.
"The first notification is for exploration covering an area of 10733.44 sq km in parts of Chitradurga and Davangere districts while the second covers an area of 10938.38 sq km in parts of Chikmagalur and Chitradurga districts excluding the western ghats area," Dr T N Venugopal, Joint Director, Mines and Geology, told PTI here today.
The Reconnaissance Permits (RPs) are being given to South African diamond major De Beers India Pvt Ltd for a period of three years, he said.
Thirtyfour RPs have been given to national and multinational companies for exploration of diamond and associated minerals over an area of 55,000 sq km, he said.
Once the reconnaissance operations are completed, the company will retain an area of 25 sq km if there is prospect for further exploration, Venugopal said.
"They will then apply for a prospecting licence which will be for a period of 2-5 years," he said.
Meanwhile, Geo Mysore Services Limited and its sister company Indophil Resources India Ltd, which are into gold mining, have applied for prospecting licence which is "under consideration of the government," he added.
Jharia Action Plan: a win-win situation for all stakeholders?
It assumes importance in the context of huge steel capacity expansion The Plan involves shifting and rehabilitation of three lakh people from areas where mine fires have been raging for years.
Mine safety measures under scanner
by Statesman News Service / ANGUL
28th February 2006
The workers engaged in Lingaraj mine are in the grip of fear as the safety measures there are nominal.
What is more galling is the lapse on the part of officers in the mines safety department who are responsible for enforcing measure needed to ensure the safety of workers. Their perfunctory visit to the mines has proved futile as the management is not bothered to respond to them, workers alleged.
There have been a spate of injuries sustained by the workers while on duty.
A casual worker, who was employed as an operator in a surface miner owned by Alok Coal Company, was killed on Monday night after being run over by a dumper.
The dumper is owned by a private transport company called Pioneer. The deceased was Bhimsen Nayak (30) of Bantala area.
The general secretary of BMS 's Talcher Coalfields wing, Mr Badal Maharana, said that the accident had occurred due to the poor visibility in the mine caused by heavy dust.
Moreover, it is alleged at least 50 vehicles are operating in the mine, instead of five stipulated under the safety rules.
Mr Maharana alleged that Pioneer and Alok Coal Agency, in connivance with the the management of Lingaraj mines, were exploiting workers. Mr Maharana revealed that he had filed a complaint with Talcher police against general manager of Lingaraj Area. The officials of Lingaraj Area, however, declined to comment on the matter.
UP IN SMOKE: Fires dot the Jharia coalfields, burning up precious coking coal.
by The Hindu
13th February 2006
EFFORTS ARE on to impart momentum and generate political consensus for a massive rehabilitation programme at the Jharia Coalfields that contains top quality coking coal which is literally going up in smoke due to past unscientific mining practices. It is only by consensus and political will that such a programme can be implemented successfully and in a time-bound manner. The benefits are manifold and they cascade through a multiplier effect.
At a time when substantial capacity expansions are on the anvil of the Indian steel industry, any scope for raising the indigenous availability of one of the most critical inputs for the industry - prime coking coal - needs to be taken seriously more so if it also helps in unlocking the value of a perennially sick coal-producing company.
Currently the public sector coal company in question, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd, is trying to implement the Jharia Action Plan (JAP) with which its long-term survival is linked. "Revitalisation of the Jharia Coalfields holds the key to providing substantial coking coal inputs for the growing steel industry - but it also offers tremendous benefits for the ailing BCCL which is now on the threshold of a turnaround," says BCCL CMD, P. S. Bhattacharyya.
By making Jharia free of habitation, large coking coal bearing areas would become available enabling BCCL to move into opencast mining against its present practice of underground mining which is getting to be an increasingly losing proposition. As many as 41 of the 62 mines suffer losses of more than Rs. 1,000 per tonne.
So what is this action plan all about? Mind boggling though this may sound, the JAP involves the shifting and rehabilitation of about three lakh people staying in these areas where mine-fires, some raging since the pre-nationalisation days, are common. The fires, caused by slaughter mining, also burn up prime grade coking coal (some 37 million tonnes have already been lost) and an intrinsic part of the plan is to shift the people to safer areas while putting out the fires, save the coal and commence opencast mining. The plan, formulated in 2003, has been updated and is expected to cost about Rs. 5,700 crore.
Interestingly, a rehab programme of similar dimensions carried out at the Upper Krishna project in Karnataka is being used by the implementation team as a learning experience. BCCL officials told The Hindu that a highly dedicated team of officers had smoothly carried out an even bigger rehab programme. As part of the pre-implementation programme of JAP, a team from BCCL has already visited Karnataka.
Originally the JAP was formulated following an apex Court directive on a PIL case filed by Haradhan Roy, ex-MP. A master plan in 2003 spread the work out over 20 years. The current thinking, in line with the views expressed by various agencies including the Planning Commission (which took an appraisal meeting on this in 2005), is to crash the time frame by half. A total of 65,000 houses will have to be constructed to accommodate three lakh displaced persons.
Opencast mining plans
The Jharkhand government has already notified the formation of the Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority. Its main task is to construct quality townships for shifting people to non-coal bearing areas. Alongside, BCCL will be required to provide alternative accommodation to its employees living in the endangered areas. The JRDA and BCCL are expected to implement this task with help from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation creating considerable economic activity in the construction sector.
The rehabilitation programme will obviously leave a large part of the Jharia Coalfield vacant and amenable for development by opencast mining. The reserves of high quality coal here are estimated at 4.6 billion tonnes. According to estimates made by India's largest steel producer, the Steel Authority of India Ltd., with steel production increasing to about 65 million tonnes by 2011-12, the annual coking coal demand would increase to about 45 million tonnes. Out of the 93 billion tonnes of indigenous proven reserves of coal, only about 13 per cent is coking coal and the rest thermal coal. Of this, 28 per cent is prime coking and the rest medium or semi-coking coal. Blast furnace needs 70 per cent prime and 30 per cent medium coking coal.
Accordingly prime coking coal availability has been identified as a major constraint for growth of the Indian steel industry. As per the present planning, the current coking coal production of eight million tonnes will be increased to 18 million tonnes by 2024-25 against the steel industry's projected demand of 97 million tonnes. It is in this context that the JAP assumes significance and demands priority action.
The potential to increase output that opening up of areas of Jharia coalfield has, can be gauged from the recent opening up of the fire-affected Dhanbad-Patherdih railway line (where tracks had to be dismantled). More than a million tonnes of coal is being produced in the current fiscal as a result of opening up of a miniscule portion of the Jharia coalfields. As BCCL tries to enter a phase of consolidation, it has identified these high value deposits as its golden goose. "Volume is important, but so is value creation," says the BCCL CMD, who sees the JAP as an integral part of the company's sustained revival. "Jharia revitalisation will enable BCCL to generate enough revenue to wipe out its Rs. 10,000 crore accumulated loss incurred so far and then yield returns on the huge investment made with tax-payers money," says Mr. Bhattacharyya.
No funding problem
How is the JAP to be funded? This is not seen to be a problem. BCCL's holding company, Coal India Ltd., has levied a charge of Rs. 6 per tonne on its profit-making subsidiaries for the last two years to raise funds for Jharia and Ranigunj rehabilitation. This is expected to generate about Rs. 400 crore annually. Stowing excise duty, levied on all types of coal (coking and non-coking), has been increased to a uniform level of Rs. 10 (from Rs. 3.5 for non-coking coal and Rs. 4.25 on coking coal).
This is expected to generate a corpus of Rs. 240 crore per year. Moreover, by its fire mitigation programme BCCL hopes to earn carbon credits and qualify for funding under the clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.
Pre-implementation work like survey and land acquisition are now on in full swing and the project is set for a 2007 launch. The people of Dhanbad are now looking forward to a new dawn linked as their existence is to the well-being of BCCL. Talking to this correspondent, miners at the Moonidih mine said that they were now a happy lot, taking home their pay and PF dues within the due date. This has come about with BCCL's improved finances. But their dawn might just turn out to be a false one if political will is found lacking, when the time comes for actual relocation. It is seemingly a win-win situation for all - the coal companies, the steel sector and the local populace - except for a section of those who have stayed in these areas for long and have developed various vested interests.
Mining activities face bureaucratic red-tapism
by Himanshu Bhayani / Mumbai/ Porbandar / The Business Standard
2nd March 2006
The bureaucratic hurdles has hampered the growth of mining activities of over 350 mines in Porbandar district, which has an annual turnover of Rs 169 crore.
The government, despite earning royalty money of Rs 27.32 crore, has not softened the procedures and policies for issuing mining leases. This has encouraged the operators to opt for illegal mining activities, inviting more mafias in mines trade.
There is an ongoing war among the gangs led by Sarman Munja, Santok Jadeja and Bhima Dula Odedara to acquire the natural resources, which is stretched up to 90 sq km from Varvala village of Porbandar up to Bhatia in Jamnagar.
Bauxite, Limestone and Chalk are available in plenty here, employing over 15,000 people.
Limestone and Chalk are consumed by Tata, Birla and Nirma for their production of cement and soda ash. Bauxite is exported in huge quantum to the Gulf countries and south-east Asia.
"The approximate turnover of Limestone is 20 lakh metric tonne per annum amounting to Rs 17 crore per annum, the royalty amount of which is paid Rs 45 per MT, contributes Rs 9 crore per annum towards the state government's revenue," said Bharat Modhvadiya, son of Mulu Modhvadiya, the uncrowned king of mining business who was shot recently.
"The business is not given much priority and there is a lot of hassle in renewal of lease contracts," he said.
Mining is normally done on government land and lease contracts have to be renewed, but despite of owning the land, their lease contracts are not renewed. If at all its done, then they do not renew it for more than two hectare, he added.
Bauxite, which has a turnover of Rs 150 crore per annum in Porbandar, is also facing similar problems.
The royalty earned by the government here is about Rs 18 crore per annum.
The income received by the port through ship wharfage charges, which Rs 45 per MT, at an average would be Rs 11.25 crore. Despite of earning royalty amount worth Rs 29.25 crore, the policies for renewing or providing lease contracts is not business friendly, said Padu Raichura, an eminent bauxite exporter and president of the Porbandar District Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
As a result, those who are own the land and have mineral reserves lying beneath are not coming out openly to request lease for the land, but instead, are being handled by other operators. Gradually, anti-social elements acquire ownership of the land, added Padu.
According to Raichura, if the government chalks out a blue-print with guidance from business fraternity, it can excise and monitor the entire trade, thereby increasing the revenue potential, he added.
However, the state has taken few initiatives to encourage Chalk mining activities. "We feel it's because Chalk is only produced in the villages of Ranavav taluka in Porbandar. There are more than 129 mines producing 1 lakh MT of Chalk per annum amounting to Rs 12 crore per annum," said Suresh Raithatha, eminent business operators in Chalk mining from Porbandar.
Royalty money of Rs 32 lakh per annum is paid by the trade, Rs 32 per MT is charged as royalty on Chalk.
"Chalk is classified as one of the major minerals by the Centre but the state government very soon shall classify it as minor mineral," added Raithatha.
KALINGNAGAR UPDATE: Global consensus on project oustees ignored: Expert
by UNI, Visakhapatnam
28th February 2006
Both Union and Orissa Governments had 'ignored' international consensus on obtaining consent from inhabitants before embarking on any project leading to the shocking killing of 12 tribals in Kalinganagar in Orissa recently, Former Union Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, B D Sharma said here today.
Dr Sharma, who is also Convener of Jan Andolan which was leading the agitation against the Orissa Government against the displacement of tribals, said ''in a democracy one should take such consent and cannot force an issue on the natives. The two governments had intentionally disregarded the international obligation to which the country is a signatory.
''The country's mining policy also acknowledges benefits should accrue to tribals where natural resources are exploited. It is based on terms of reasonable alternative economic ways provided to natives on the basis of equality.
''But today the locals have no role in the industries or mining projects that are coming up. By saying they were not skilled or educated, they are being treated shabbily.
''Why did the government fail to prepare these people and equip them with skills in advance as clearly stated by 1974 Government of India order drafted before launching of Malajkhand Copper Project in Orissa?'' he asked.
In an exclusive interview with UNI, he said the ownership of tribal lands was not negotiable and the state government cannot break the Provisions of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Community Act of 1996, which had been okayed by the Supreme Court in its Samata judgement.
Dr Sharma said there should not be a sell away of land and resources to outsiders without the locals getting equal benefits from it.
The locals should be equal partners in development. The Bhuria Committee which went into the problems faced by tribals due to development in scheduled areas, had suggested the community be given minimum 50 per cent of the shareholding in such project.
It also stipulated those who become labourers in such projects and lost their land for the project must be made partners. The persons who invest money in the project should not have more than 26 per cent stake.
He said there were other concerns. The governments were not worried about ecological implications either,he alleged
But today's investors were not concerned about any of these matters. They were also least bothered about employment to locals. Nowhere in the country, where the industries have come up or mining was taken up, the locals were given employment, he claimed. MORE UNI RS GM 1058
LIFE-AP-TRIBALS-PROJECTS TWO LAST VISAKHAPATNAM
''But today, governments believe in development at any cost. This concept should be opposed. In mining industry, the profits are more than 150 per cent which is nothing short of 'robbery.' The entrepreneur should agree to be a partner in development in which both are benefited,'' he said.
He regretted tribals were considered a burden by governments in India. The Kalinganagar issue shocked the nation and the tribal communities were immensely hurt by the mining project, he said.
Calling for a national consensus on the issue, Dr Sharma said the tribals have to fight for their rights with support from people in the plains.
The tribal areas in the states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, which are rich in natural resources, were facing a capitalist onslaught which had to thwarted with support from the educated class, he added.