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SAIL plans big for Chiria mines

SAIL will engage a reputed consultant to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for expansion and mechanisation of its mining operations at Chiria mines in Jharkhand.

business Updated: Jul 02, 2007 18:17 IST
Rajesh Roy

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) will engage a reputed consultant to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for expansion and mechanisation of its mining operations at Chiria mines in Jharkhand.

The SAIL board has allocated Rs 1,800 crore for enhancement of mining capacity up to 7 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2010-11 from the present 1.5 MT. Subsequently, the production would be pushed to 10 MTPA, 15 MPTA and 20 MTPA in phases, highly placed sources in the SAIL said.

The tender for roping in the consultant would be floated shortly, they added.

Mecon has prepared the feasibility report for expansion of SAIL’s mining operations at Chiria. The environmental impact assessment has been completed and SAIL has applied for no objection certificate. Preparation of mining plan by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) is under process.

SAIL has also chalked out plans for a whopping increase in steel production capacity to 29 MT from the present 5.2 MT in Jharkhand. It plans to enhance the capacity of Bokaro Steel Plant to 7.5 MT by 2010 with an investment of Rs 13,000 crore.

The capacity would be later increased up to 17 MT. Mecon has studied the project and the SAIL Board has approved it.

SAIL has requested the State Government to provide land to set up 12 MT green field steel plant. It has submitted the details of its iron ore requirement to the Union Ministry of Mining.

Jharkhand and SAIL have been engaged in a prolonged tussle over Chiria mines, with the State government saying it will not renew the leases to the extent of the PSU’s requirement in the State. The reserves are estimated to be 1.7 to 2 billion tonnes.

Some days back, Chief Minister Madhu Koda had claimed that SAIL and Jharkhand Government were heading towards an out-of-court settlement. In a recent interview to a newspaper, SAIL chairman SK Roongta, however, said SAIL would not part with the iron ore leases it held for Chiria. Roongta said SAIL had firmed up its investment plans till 2020 and it envisaged use of the entire ‘ore production from Chiria’. SAIL, however, said it was open to other steel makers getting access to the adjacent reserves at Ankua.

The Prime Minister Office’s initiative for an out-of-court settlement between SAIL and Jharkhand on Chiria issue is on. The next meeting is expected within a week.

Several private steel players, including Arcelor Mittal and Essar Steel, have been eying the Chiria reserves. Both Chiria and Ankua fall within the Saranda forests. SAIL holds the mining rights for Ajitaburu, McLellan, Dhobil, Sukri and Tatuburu at Chiria. It also holds the rights for 67 acres at Ankua. In all, it holds the rights to 2,350 hectares of leased mining area.

Though Ankua reserves have not been mapped out fully, analysts peg them at about 600 MT.