Steel Authority of India (SAIL) eagerly awaits the clearance of Iron ore mines in Gua, as it needs 39 MnT raw material.
SAIL has approached the Project Monitoring Group (PMG), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for clearance of the Iron-ore expansion project in Jharkhand. The Iron ore mines are worth USD 478 million are located in eastern province of the state,Gua. The project approval from the forest clearance is awaited from a very long time. Apart from the clearance delays, the project had missed several internal deadlines, as a result the company was bound to approach to the higher authority.
SAIL had plans to expand production capacity of the Gua iron ore mines from the present 2.4 MnT pa to 10 MnT pa, after completion of the project. Also, it has plans to build a 12.5 MnT pa capacity beneficiation plant along with a 4 MnT pa Pelletisation plant.
The Gua iron ore mines project located in Saranda forest is delayed owing to the environmentally fragile forest at the moment that requires a detailed biodiversity plan before any mining operations to start. The project awaits the final clearance from the Environment and Forest Ministry.
“We have approached them (the PMG) as stage-II (final) forest clearance is pending. I hope it will soon be taken up,” said SAIL Chairman C S Verma. SAIL had planned to complete the techno-economic report and appoint the mine developer/operator by October, 2012 which is still pending. The Ministry earlier headed by minister Jairam Ramesh was opposed strongly for any mining activity in the Saranda forest. This further delayed the Goa Iron ore mine’s expansion. The mines have an estimated reserve of about 142 MnT ore in it.
SAIL inherited the Gua mines when it acquired Indian Iron & Steel Company Limited (IISCO) in 2006. The mines were in operation from time to time till 2011 when their approvals expired. It resumed the operations early this year when it was accorded temporary approval by the Environment and Forest Ministry.
The expansion project is very important for SAIL as its 25% requirement for the raw material is met by the Gua mines. It is investing around INR 100 billion for this project. Also the expansion project will help to boost SAIL’s production capacity to 21 MnT pa by end of March, 2014.
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