ArcelorMittal on Tuesday welcomed the government decision to grant it licence to prospect iron ore in the Karampada region of Jharkhand.
Welcoming the move, ArcelorMittal Group management board member Sudhir Maheshwari said the move will reaffirm the company's commitment in the region.
"We are very pleased that the Government of India and Jharkhand have approved the grant of prospecting licence over Karampada to ArcelorMittal and reaffirm our commitment to fast track the construction of our new steel plant in the region" said Maheshwari.
"ArcelorMittal is committed to developing the project in accordance with its worldwide corporate responsibility strategy which focuses on the socioeconomic and cultural development of the communities in which it operates,"he added.
The Karampada deposits will be able to meet part of the iron ore needs of the new integrated steel plant being set up in Jharkhand by the company and it will give a boost to the steel giant's Rs 50,000-crore proposed project in the state.
A prospecting licence is approved by the Centre in favour of a mining entity on the recommendation of the respective state where the mines are located. After getting prospecting licence, in the case of iron ore, within at least three years, the company has to apply for mining licence.
The area for which the prospecting licence has been approved is estimated to house about 200 million tonne rich iron ore to feed its proposed 12-mtpa steel plant in Bokaro in the tribal-dominated state.
The world's largest steelmaker had entered into a pact with Jharkhand way back in 2005 for setting up a 12-mtpa plant at an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore but has been facing inordinate delays in land acquisition and regulatory hurdles to launch the venture.
Faced with opposition from villagers from the Khunti, Gumla areas, where the plant was proposed earlier, the company is making efforts to acquire land at Petarwar in Bokaro. The entire project requires around 8,000 acres.
The London-based NRI billionaire LN Mittal, who heads the steel giant, had last month said the company was "anxious" to start work on its proposed greenfield projects in the country, which entail an estimated investment of Rs 1.30 lakh crore.