Minister Calls for Operationalization of Iron Ore Mines in Odisha
India’s Steel Minister Mr Dharmendra Pradhan held a virtual meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Mr Naveen Patnaik and Minister of Mines & Coal Mr Pralhad Joshi. Discussions centred on resolving the issues regarding operationalization of the auctioned iron ore mines in Odisha where production and dispatch has still not commenced. The lease of these mines had lapsed on 31st March, 2020, pursuant to which fresh auction was carried out. Mr Pradhan emphasised on the need of an early resolution in this regard by the Ministry of Mines so that seamless availability of raw material to the end user is ensured. This would result in reducing the price of iron ore which has gone up substantially in the last one month due to adverse market sentiments, emanating primarily from reduced supply of iron ore in Odisha from the recently auctioned mines.
As against a production of 123.8 million tonnes iron ore in Odisha from January - November 2019, total production in the same period in current year has been only 98.2 million tonne. Out of the recently auctioned 24 mines in Odisha, only 5 have been able to start production and dispatch till date. This is the main reason for shortfall in iron ore supply in the country.
Odisha holds immense importance for the Indian steel industry with a major share of raw material reserves and steel production capacity. Early operationalization of iron ore mines will not ensure raw material security for the steel industry.