Bhubaneswar: As the mineral industry is concerned about the lapse of many mining lease on March 31, 2020, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick allayed there apprehensions by informing that the State Government is committed to completing mining auctions on time.
While addressing India Mining Conclave 2019, organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce, as Chief Guest, Mallick said, “Odisha Government has already started the auction process for mineral blocks. Auction of three iron ore blocks, one manganese block, two chromite blocks and one graphite block has already been completed. Auction of another 31 mineral blocks is in the pipeline and notification for the same has already been issued. This auction process will be completed in phased manner. Out of 31 blocks in offer, 27 blocks iron ore mines, 2 graphite and 2 manganese mines.” He also urged the mineral industry to use latest technology in exploration process and ensure least damage to environment and ecosystem of the mining area.
Chief Secretary, Odisha Asit Tripathy said that, “Odisha is steel hub and minining is an important Industry in the State. In few months there is likely chance that mines can move from one operator to another. Government is trying to ensure that there is no disruption in mineral the production.” Mr Tripathy emphasised on the Mining Companies following the Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet and Profit) for pursuing sustainable development.
Additional Chief Secretary (Steel & Mines), Odisha R K Sharma said, “Mines sector contributes 10% to the GSDP of the state. But due to some reason it came down from the double digit to single digit. Now it has stated picking up and in future it will contribute significantly to the state economy. Odisha is most compliant state as compared to others in the mining area. We bounced back so early and are able to increase our production while other states are still fighting with so many issues.”
Regarding the expiry of the Mining lease of several mines on 31st March 2020 Mr R.K. Sharma reiterated that the Govt of Odisha has already started the process for fresh suction of mines with the sole intention of providing uninterrupted supply of raw material to the Value Addition Industries. Mr Sharma also said that the State Govt is always open to ideas and suggestions within the framework of law from experts and existing players in mining.
Mr Manish Kharbanda, Convenor, Steel and Mines Committee, ICC Odisha State Council in his theme address highlighted three important aspects of mines and mineral industry. He said that, “commencement of production in Mines after 2 years of allotment is not going to help the industry. For virgin mines it is still acceptable, but those mines, which are already in operation the production ramp up should be different. We urge both Centre and State Government to make necessary arrangement “.
Comparing to the auction rules between Coal and None Coal mines, Mr. Kharbanda said, “In coal block auction there are normative rules based on which a company / individual can bid for coal blocks. If expansion is proposed then 60 percent financial closure has to be shown and a big performance guarantee be provided. In non-coal auction these issues have not been addressed. This can lead to monopolisation and hoarding of resources by few companies. The secondary steel will suffer the most and also some primary steel producers.”
Mr Kharbanda also highlighted the challenges relating to taxation, beneficiation and transportation issues of minerals.
Today and tomorrow we shall engage with the stakeholders ranging from Government, mines lessees, Industries, environmentalists , academicians , legal advisors and development experts on the perspectives of Sustainable Mining as a key enabler of holistic development ,” said Mr. Kharbanda , who is also the Group Advisor of Corp Affair , Legal, CSR and Sustainability of Jindal Steel & Power.
Other dignitaries present at the event are Prabodh Mohanty, Director of SNM Group, Scott Caithness, Director (Exploration) of Vedanta Group, M C Thomas, Chairman of ICC State Odisha Council and J B Pany, Co-Chairman of ICC State Odisha Council.
The Indian Chamber of Commerce is holding the two-day Indian Mining Conclave on 30th and 31st October 2019 in partnership with the Government of Odisha to trigger the perspectives of sustainable mining and to suggest the way forward to the Government and other stakeholders.