SAIL unhappy as Jharkhand drags feet over mining lease renewals

July 18th, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, July 18 (IANS) Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is unhappy about the way the Jharkhand government is dragging its feet over the renewal of iron ore mining leases, says Kiran Kapoor, the company’s executive director (raw materials). After meeting the state’s chief secretary Thursday, Kapoor told IANS: “There are 11 mining related issues pending with the state government.” He met the state’s mines secretary Friday to discuss these issues as well as SAIL’s expansion plans in the state.

SAIL is worried as most of the iron ore mining leases are set to expire in the next two to three years. The mining leases of Chiria, Kiriburu and other iron ore mines are expiring in 2010 and 2011, SAIL sources said.

While SAIL and the Jharkhand government are fighting a legal battle over mining rights for the Chiria mines, the issue of lease renewal for the other mines is still hanging fire.

SAIL is also unhappy that the state government is “not responding positively” to its upcoming projects, company officials said on condition of anonymity. They pointed out that SAIL is looking for land, water, iron ore and other infrastructure facilities for setting up a 12 million tonne greenfield project with an investment of Rs.470 billion.

SAIL is also expanding the Bokaro Steel Plant’s capacity from 4.8 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes. SAIL plans to produce 29 million tonnes of steel from Jharkhand alone by 2020 to meet the increasing demand for steel in the country, company officials said.

“We also discussed with government officials our expansion plans and land acquisition for our proposed greenfield project,” Kapoor said.

SAIL had assigned Mecon, a metals and mining engineering consultancy company under the steel ministry, to suggest possible locations where the greenfield project could be set up. Mecon has suggested seven such possible locations, sources said.

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