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Gua complex mine closure puts SAIL in a spot
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Friday, 16 Nov 2012

Business Line reported that SAIL may face iron ore shortage, if the country’s largest steel producer cannot resume production by January, at its 2.4 million tonnes a year Durgaiburu mine in Jharkhand.

It is the oldest and largest mechanized (1,443 hectare) mine of the Gua complex in West Singhbum district. It was set for 4 fold capacity expansion but remains closed for the past 17 months in the absence of environmental clearance.

According to sources, the situation at present has become alarming in view of serious depletion of ore stock pile.

A Steel Ministry source said that “SAIL does generate great deal of ore surpluses from its captive mines spread across Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Occasional short falls are generally met by NMDC. But this year, when Gua is completely out of production, SAIL may fall short in meeting the combined demand of all its plants.”

SAIL management without playing down the gravity of the possible scenario hinted at serious engagement in averting the problem. In response to Business Line query, Mr CS Verma CMD of SAIL, sounded optimistic of solving the knotty problem shortly. There may be good news in the next few weeks.

Closed since June 15 last year, the mine employs around 550 regular workers and about 500 contract laborers. 3 smaller mines of SAIL in the same complex Jhillingburu-I (210 ha), Jhillingburu-II (36 ha) and Topailore (14 ha) are also out of operation for lack of Ministry of Environment and Forests approvals.

A Steel Ministry source said that it is understood, that the Ministry of Environment has kept Durgaiburu environment clearance on hold since January 27th as forest clearance was not ready then. The MoEF gave its forest clearance nod on August 14. But EC has not been issued.

Meanwhile, SAIL has assigned Mecon to work on the Environment Management Plan for the three smaller mines of the complex. After the stipulated 3 month data collection since September at the area, Mecon would start the analytical work in December.

Source - Business Line


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