JSW seeks PMO intervention for securing iron ore mining lease
Aug 25 2013 , New Delhi
In a letter to Joint Secretary in the PMO, B V R Subrahmanyam, JSW Steel Chairman Sajjan Jindal said the ministry had given approval for mining lease for Damkodwadvi iron ore mine in Maharashtra on May 18, 2012.
"However, Government of Maharashtra has not been issuing the Letter of Intent as new MMDR Bill is pending. Even as per proposed MMDR Bill, this is a case of seamless transfer from Prospecting Lease (PL) to Mining Lease (ML)," he said in the letter dated August 5.
Seeking immediate support from the PMO, Jindal has said that there are some other mines in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which either need to be allocated or require grant of PL.
This includes Phururmeta iron ore mine in Maharashtra, where the company is waiting to secure PL to begin the preliminary work. The Mines Ministry had cleared that proposal way back in September, 2009.
JSW is the largest private sector steel manufacturer in India with 14.3 million tonne (MT) capacity. It, however, does not have any captive iron ore mine to run its operations.
The two mines - Damkodwadvi and Phururmeta - were alloted to now merged JSW Ispat Steel for its Dolvi steel mill, near Mumbai. The company was permitted to mine 7.5 million tonne iron ore from the Damkodwadvi mine, which is in the Gadchiroli district.
In an environmental public hearing held on May 8, 2013 for mining in the block, the Gram Sabha of Damkodwadvi village had recommended that the Maharashtra government reject the proposed mining lease for the project citing protests from the local people.
Meanwhile, Jindal in his letter also said that iron ore production in Karnataka has not yet stabilised despite Supreme Court's lifting the mining ban in April itself and requested the PMO to constitute a specific committee, which can oversee the progress and clear regulatory bottlenecks.
JSW Steel operates a 10 MTPA plant in Karnataka's Vijayanagar and has invested about Rs 40,000 crore. The firm has put expansion of its capacity at the plant on hold due to uncertain iron ore situation in the state.
"Industry is getting only 13.75 MT against the demand of 32-35 MT per annum (in Karnataka). In order to expedite the process of regulatory clearances, specific committee is required to be set up, who can oversee the overall progress and remove bottleneck in co-ordination with the state government," Jindal said.