New Delhi, Feb 3: Bokarao Steel Plant is in danger of running out of iron ore in a few years time if current output is maintained, official sources say, Current mining areas at Bokaro's twin mines-- Kiriburu and Meghataburu-- together have reserves of mere 58 million tonnes, which would be depleted in just four to five years in the event of current output being maintained.
Bokaro Steel plant contributes more than a quarter of SAIL's profits. Worse still, if Bokaro's production is increased to 7.5 million tonnes as planned, then the reserves would be deplted even earlier. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has been unable to start mining in other areas of its Kiriburu and Meghataburu leases due to delays in getting environmental and forest clearences from the Jharkhand government for fresh mining within its lease area.
Bokarao, which needs about ten million tonnes of iron ore annually to produce 4.5 million tonnes of steel, plans to increase output to 7.5 million tonnes within the next two years. Subsequently, Bokaro plans to increase production to 17 million tonnes by 2020.
SAIL wants to start mining at Kiriburu's South Block which has a reserve of 60 million tonnes of iron ore and Central block of Meghataburu, which has 80 million tonnes of iron ore.
SAIL has also run into difficulties to renew leases at Chiria mines to feed steel making at Bokarao and IISCO, Burnpur and to start a new factory at Sarikela near Monoharpur. In all steel output at these three locations is set to go up to 32.5 million tonnes.