Domestic steel giants Tatas and Essar have received the Centre's nod to prospect more than 250 million tonnes of iron ore in Bailadila mines in Chhattisgarh for their proposed steel projects with a total capacity of eight million tonnes.
"The Centre has accorded its approval to allow us to prospect Bailadila-III deposit in Chhattisgarh. We are awaiting forest clearance from the government and will commence work only after receiving it," Essar Steel Holdings CEO J Mehra told PTI.
Prospecting would be done on more than 2,000 acres of land and it is expected that the deposit has about 150 million tonnes of iron ore. "We will complete prospecting within six months after we began the work," he said.
Essar Steel had signed an MoU with the Chhattisgarh government to set up a 3.2 million integrated steel plant at an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore, Mehra said.
The licence given to Essar was earlier held by National Mineral Development Corporation, but the state-run reportedly lost this in February last as it had not excavated the mines.
Similarly, Tata Steel has also received the government's nod for prospecting the Bailadila-I deposit that has an estimated reserve of up to 150 million tonnes. A Tata Steel spokesman confirmed the development and said prospecting would begin in due course of time.
Tata Steel plans to build a 5 million tonnes steel plant at Bastar in Chhattisgarh at an estimated investment of about Rs 10,000 crore.