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Posco-India to get mining clearance by Sept-end

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, July 8: After a long legal battle, Posco-India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of South Korean steel behemoth Pohang Iron and Steel Company Ltd (Posco), is all set to clinch a mining clearance for its proposed 12 billion dollars steel plant at Paradeep in Orissa by September-end.

World's third largest steel producer requires 600 million tonnes of iron-ore to manufacture 12 million tonnes (MT) of steel at its Paradeep plant.

The company had earlier threatened to withdraw its investment proposals if it was not given access to captive mines.

''The kind of support we are getting both from the Central as well as the State Governments, we are hopeful that the mining issue will be resolved by the end of September,'' Posco-India General Manager (Corporate Affairs) Vikash Sharan told sources in an interview here.

The Centre had asked the Mines Ministry to work with Orissa government to break the impasse on allocation of mining lease to South Korean steel giant Posco last month.

Mr Sharan said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is reviewing the progress made in Posco's project every two or three months.

In December 2006, Orissa government had recommended grant of a prospecting licence to the multi-national company for Khandadhar mines in Sundergarh district to feed raw material to the steel major's project.

The grant of an iron ore mining lease to Posco became a problem, with state-run Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd staking a claim to the mines which Posco wants.

''The construction work of both the steel plant as well as the port will commence by October this year,'' Mr Sharan said, adding that the company already got an environmental clearance.

Asked about the probable partnership with the world's largest steel producer Arcelor Mittal, he said, ''I am not aware of any such development.'' Commenting on agreements with local players, Mr Sharan said, ''We are not looking at strategic partnership with any local partners, as we have resources, strength and technology. we will go independently for the mega project.'' The four MT first phase of the project will be started in October this year which would be completed in December 2010, he said, adding that the second phase and the third phase of four MT each will come up by 2013 and 2016 respectively.

Assuring of transparent process of rehabilitation, Mr Sharan said it would be based on Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) policy, Orissa government.

''We have almost done socio-economic survey. Now, we know who falls in what category. Based on the categorisation, he/she will be entitled to the compensation under the RR policy of the Orissa government.'' One member of each 471 families would be given service in Posco, apart from residence and other perks, he said.

Spread over 4,004 acres of land, 3,566 acres belong to the state government. Out of this 1,135 acres are encroachment free and has already been sanctioned for Posco-India. The remaining 438 acres are private land.

Iron ore reserves of two billion tonnes are estimated to be available in Orissa, out of the total 24 billion tonnes of proven reserves in the country.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in mining is allowed 100 per cent in India.

Recently, a group of ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil cleared the new mining policy, to be placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval, that seeks to attract foreign direct investment of two billion dollars annually, while rejecting a demand for capping iron ore exports.

The policy, to be tabled in Parliament in its forthcoming Monsoon Session, aims at enhancing the exploration of mining and metals to over 25 per cent of the total reserved area from less than five per cent now, said Minister of State for Mines T Subbarami Reddy.

Earlier, the Cabinet had referred the policy to the GoM to address the issues facing the steel and mining industries.

The GoM broadly endorsed the recommendations of the Anwarul Hoda Committee.

UNI

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