Odisha may auction another 40 mining blocks in FY21

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government may not put anymore mining blocks in the current financial year. Rather than auctioning more blocks, the state government is focusing more on augmenting Ore production from the working mines that have already been auctioned, a senior official of Odisha mines department said.

In February, Odisha has auctioned 19 Iron Ore and Manganese mines and another 2 mines-Sukinda Chorme mines and Guali Iron Ore mines are scheduled to be auctioned on 18th of this month.  Apart from these two mines, the auction for other mining blocks is likely to be deferred to the new financial year i.e. 2020-21. However, the Odisha government is planning to put as many as 35-40 mining blocks in the new financial year, the official said.

As per the amended Mining & Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act 2015, the lease period all merchant mines will expire by March 31st 2020.

Out of the 19 mining blocks auctioned in February, steel major JSW steel has bagged maximum 4 blocks Nuagaon, Narayanposhi, Ganua and Jajang Iron Ore mines with combined Iron Ore reserve of 1130 million tonnes. Apart from JSW, global steel giant Arcelor Mittal has bagged the Thakurani Iron Ore block with estimated Iron Ore reserve of 179 million tonnes.

In December 2019, the state government had cancelled auction of 29 mining blocks including 12 Iron Ore, 2 Manganese and 6 Iron & Manganese blocks, after complaints of irregularities and invited fresh bids for 19 blocks. The government is likely to invite bids for the rest 10 blocks before March.

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