While the Union Government decided to use the auction route for allocation of all minerals, Odisha’s Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik is batting in favour of POSCO to get Khandadhar iron ore mine for its mega steel plant at Jagatsinghpur.
Mr. Mallik said, “It was an international commitment and we had recommended on the basis of the request made by the (previous) central government. If POSCO will have to bid, it will be a setback for the project.”
South Korea’s steel giant POSCO has a memorandum of understanding with the Odisha government in 2005 that assures allocation of mining leases. However, following the promulgation of “The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance, 2015” which makes allocation of all mines through the auction route only, the MoU will not make any effect.
Union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday ruled out an exception to an executive order mandating auctions for all new mines. “Even I’ll have to bid for a mine if I want one,” Tomar said, as the government looks to overhaul the past practice of handing over mines and reduce chances of corruption.
The 12 million-tonne-a-year plant POSCO in Odisha would be the biggest foreign direct investment the country and has been seen as a test case for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” manufacturing push.