NMDC resumes Chhattisgarh mining after a week

June 13th, 2008 - 4:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, June 13 (IANS) The state-owned National Mineral Development Corp Ltd (NMDC) Friday resumed iron ore mining in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Dantewada district after a week-long forced stoppage of work. Mining activity had come to a halt since June 5 early hours when Maoist rebels cut off power supplies in the state’s vast southern Bastar region that includes Dantewada, home to one of the largest and finest iron ore deposits in the world.

NMDC suffered a loss of at least Rs.1 billion during the week-long blackout that followed, a company official said.

Power supply to four districts - Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur and Bastar - was restored late Thursday evening.

“Iron ore mining resumed in the Bailadilla hills in Dantewada Friday morning, though excavation work began partially Thursday night,” NMDC spokesman Jai Prakash told IANS over phone from the company’s Hyderabad headquarters.

Supplies to domestic steel makers, and to Chinese and Japanese importers had to be stopped, leading to an estimated loss of Rs.1 billion, Prakash said.

NMDC produces a little over 20 million tonnes iron ore per annum from the three Bailadilla deposits that account of about 75-80 percent of its total annual production.

Essar Steel, which has an iron ore beneficiation plant in the Bailadilla hills, was also attacked June 9 during the blackout by armed insurgents, who set on fire 19 company vehicles besides damaging equipment.

Like NMDC, Essar too resumed supply of the ore from its 8 million tonnes per annum plant to its pellet plant in Visakhapatnam Friday morning.

The iron ore slurry is pumped through a 267-km pipeline to the pellet plant.

In April too, insurgents had set ablaze 53 trucks at Essar’s beneficiation complex.

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