New Delhi: Union Minister of Steel and Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, held a meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister of Mines, Coal and Parliament Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, on Wednesday, 9th December. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Steel, discussions centred around resolving the issues regarding the operationalisation of the auctioned iron ore mines in Odisha where production and dispatch have still not commenced. The lease of these mines had lapsed on 31st March 2020, pursuant to which a fresh auction was carried out.
Steel Minister Pradhan emphasised the need for 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 month due to adverse market sentiments, emanating primarily from reduced supply of iron ore in Odisha from the recently auctioned mines. As against the production of 123.8MT iron ore in Odisha from Jan 2019 to Nov 2019, total production in the same period in the current year has been only 98.2MT. Out of the 24 mines recently auctioned in Odisha, only 5 have been able to start production and dispatch till date. This is the main reason for the shortfall in iron ore supply in the country according to the Steel Ministry.
Odisha holds immense importance for the Indian steel industry with a major share of raw material reserves and steel production capacity. Early operationalisation of iron ore mines will not only ensure raw material security for the steel industry but also help local employment generation and intensify economic activities in the state, thus driving regional development. It syncs with the larger vision of Mission Purvodaya by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to drive economic growth of eastern India.
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