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Centre returns Jharkhand proposal for mines to ArcelorMittal

October 29, 2008 18:44 IST

The Centre has returned Jharkhand government's recommendations for allotting prospecting licence of Karampada iron ore mines to ArcelorMittal due to technical reasons, a move that may further delay the steel major's project, which is already facing stiff resistance from locals.

Seeking clarification on the proposal, the mines ministryhas asked the state government to bifurcate the recommendations as a large portion of the mines falls under notified area category.

As per mines and minerals (Development and Regulations) Act 1957, different sections need to be applied for proposals of notified and de-notified areas.

"In case when proposals for re-grant and new areas are mixed up, states are asked to disaggregate them," a senior government official said.

Acknowledging the ministry's stand, an official in Jharkhand's Mines department said the state would soon send
two different proposals to the Centre, mentioning notified and de-notified areas of the mine.

The government has already granted mining lease for 500 hectares of Karampada mine in West Singbhum district to L N Mittal-led company for meeting iron ore requirement of the proposed steel plant of 12 million tonne annual capacity.

In addition to it, Jharkhand government had recommended allotment of 1,087 hectares of Karampada reserved forest to the steel major for prospecting.

As 65 million tonne of the iron ore reserves in Karampada mine would prove insufficient for the maga project, the firm is on a lookout for more resources.

ArcelorMittal would require about 600 MT of iron ore in a span of 30 years to operate its Rs 40,000 crore (Rs 400 billion) steel plant to optimum capacity.

The company has announced Torpa-Kamdara blocks of Gumla and Khunti districts as the potential site for its integrated steel plant in Jharkhand.

Pursuant to announcement of the site, the world's largest steelmaker has applied for about 11,000 acres of government and private land for setting up the steel plant. 

The company, however, is facing protests from local tribals, who are unwilling to part with even an inch of land for the project.

Unfazed by a series of protest rallies taken out by the villagers, the company is hopeful of an early resolution.

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