Bhubaneswar: In an effort to meet the December deadline, the Orissa government has initiated hearing of the applications seeking lease over Khandadhar iron ore mines in Sundergarh district. The government had already held two of the seven rounds of hear ing by a panel headed by Steel and Mines Secretary U P Singh before finally recommending prospecting licence in favour of one company, official sources said on Monday.
At a meeting on October 30 of the inter ministerial group (IMG) in New Delhi, the state government had stated that it would recommend name of a company for private lease (PL) over Khandadhar iron ore mines, they said adding the IMG was informed of steps being taken to provide raw material linkage to Posco which had proposed to invest Rs 52,000 crore in Orissa. Besides the South Korean steel major, Jindal Stainless Ltd, Monnet Ispat Ltd and many others were interested in Khandadhar iron ore reserve beca use of its high ferrous (Fe) content. Khandadhar mine preserved iron ore above 65 per cent of Fe, sources in Geological Survey of India said.
According to Orissa Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabha Behera, over 250 applications were received for Khandadhar reserve of which it had recommended name of Posco for the PL by using its 'discretionary powers' as provided in the Mines and Minerals (Dev elopment and Regulation) Act, 1957. Its decision was, however, challenged by Kudremukh Iron Ore Co Ltd (Kiocl) in the state High Court which referred the matter to the central mines ministry asking to resolve the issue within administrative framework.