Auction of 5 mineral blocks in Odisha to take off in April, tender floated

The Odisha government is readying to start the auction of five more mineral blocks by April. It has identified two iron ore and three limestone blocks to go under the hammer.

Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) has already been issued in respect of these blocks. Two iron ore blocks -- Chandiposhi and Purheibahal -- would be offered for mining lease (ML). Of the three limestone blocks identified, Behera Banjipali and Garramura are meant for ML, while the Uskalvagu block is for grant of composite license (prospecting license cum ML).

The deadline for submission of bids is April 18.

Odisha was the first state to auction an iron ore block -- the Ghoraburhani Sagasahi block with about 100 million tonnes. Essar Steel won the block at the electronic auctions, outbidding strong contenders like Tata Steel and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL). The pollution board has given the 'Consent to Establish' under Section 25 of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Section 21 of Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

The approval is for production of run of the mine iron ore of capacity 7.16 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), crushing and screening plant and iron ore beneficiation plant of 6.7 mtpa. The facilities are proposed to be set up over an area of 139.16 hectares straddling the villages of Ghoraburhani, Sagasahi and Kalamanga at Koira tahsil in Sundargarh district.

Later, the Odisha government auctioned two more iron ore blocks- Kalamang and Netrabandha Pahar.  Bhushan Steel won the Kalamang iron ore block in a round of intense bidding, outbidding heavyweights like Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL), JSW Steel, another Bhushan Group firm- Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd and Vedanta Ltd. The preferred bidder- Bhushan Steel has offered to share 100 per cent of the revenue with the Odisha government from its iron ore mining operations.

Bhushan Power & Steel (BPSL) emerged as the preferred bidder for the Netrabandh Pahar iron ore block meant for merchant mining. BPSL won the block with a quote to share 87.15 per cent of the revenue from mining operations with the state government.

The sole limestone block auctioned in Odisha has gone to Dalmia Cement, while mine developer cum operator Thriveni Earthmovers Ltd has won a manganese block.

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