Mineral Block Auctions To Recommence In Odisha

After a one year hiatus, the Odisha government is planning to auction eight mineral blocks which include six virgin blocks and two merchant mines. The auctions for these blocks are to be held in the first week of August, and the lease agreements for the same will run till March 31, 2020. This auction is being held after a year’s break due to matters of litigation.

It is said that the Centre and the state government are still in disagreement over the ceiling on maximum leasehold area, and as a result, the auctions of iron ore and manganese ore deposits under suspension. A clarification on this is imminent as a verdict will be provided shortly by a high-level committee chaired by the additional chief secretary (steel & mines).

Odisha is aiming to auction 40 mineral blocks online this year including 16 merchant mines, with an approved capacity to produce 79 million tonnes of iron ore per annum. Due to their short expiry period, concerns have risen on raw material crunch that might affect the end-user industries. The lapse of these mine leases will take away 55-60 million tonnes of iron ore supplies from the open market.

However, to provide reassurance to the bidders, the state steel & mines department has allowed end-use industries to stash iron ore in stockyards till March 31, 2022.

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