The Odisha government has invited financial and technical bids to grant mining leases (ML) for 10 iron ore and manganese blocks, reports Business Standard.
The central government had recently approved the revision in mining lease area limits for iron ore and associated minerals in Odisha to 58 square kilometres (sq km), up from 10 sq km prescribed in Section 6 (1) (b) of the Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act. The state had kept the auctions of iron and manganese ore in abeyance for want for clearance from the Centre.
Seven of the mineral blocks on offer are pure iron ore deposits. The rest three have co-existence of iron ore and manganese ore reserves. Five out of the 10 enlisted blocks have been reserved for specified end use- Thakurani, Jaribahal, Roida-II, Narayanposhi and Ganua. The specified end use is still nebulous as its unclear how many blocks would be made available for large, integrated steel manufacturers and secondary steel producers like sponge iron, pellet and pig iron makers.
Since the state government has already decided to include secondary steel plants as specified end use, online auctions of iron ore are expected to elicit intense bidding.
Auctions are to be hosted on MSTC’s online platform. The state government has invited both financial and technical bids both in physical and digital formats. The deadline for purchase of tender documents is November 15. Bidders can submit their bids up to November 18, a notification by Odisha’s steel & mines department said.
Nuagaon and Ganua iron ore block currently under the leasehold of Ahluwalias and Essel Mining’s Jilling-Langalota iron ore block is among the key expiring merchant blocks put up for auctions in this phase. The lease validity of all merchant mines ceases by March 31, 2020.
In the next phase, the state is expected to float notice inviting tenders and model tender documents for 10 more blocks.