ArcelorMittal, Tata in race to bag Chhattisgarh mining rights

September 21st, 2008 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Sep 21 (IANS) ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker, and Tata Steel, India’s largest private sector steel producer, are locked in a race to win excavation rights to about 100 million tonnes of iron ore reserves in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Raman Singh said Sunday. “As many as five companies, including Tata Steel and ArcelorMittal, are in the race,” Raman Singh told IANS. The winner will form a joint venture with the state-owned Chhattisgarh Mining Development Corp (CMDC).

“The companies have submitted separate bids to excavate an estimated 100 million tonnes of the finest quality iron ore in Kawardha district,” Raman Singh said.

Kwardha, now called Kabirdham, is the home district of the chief minister.

Officials said the contest for the mining rights is now confined to three companies - ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and the state-based Sarda Energy and Minerals Ltd.

The bid was opened last month at the CMDC meet and the result is likely to be announced by October.

CMDC chairman Gaurishankar Agrawal told IANS that ArcelorMittal has also submitted a bid to set up a six million tonne per annum capacity steel plant. According to Chhattisgarh’s industrial policy, the firm that mines iron ore should have a steel unit in the state as well.

“I want a massive steel unit in either Kawardha or Rajnandgaon district (in the western region), but discussions with certain companies are in an early stage,” Raman Singh stated.

Chhattisgarh has about 18 percent of country’s iron ore reserves, mainly in the southern Maoist insurgency-hit Dantewada district.

This is where the National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC), India’s largest state-run iron ore producer and exporter, excavates nearly 80 percent of its total 27 million tonne annual production.

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