Centre asks Odisha to clarify on Posco mining project

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 18 (IANS) The union mines ministry has sought further clarifications from Odisha on the mining project of South Korean steel major Posco in the state, a senior state official said here Saturday.

“They (central government) have sought the same clarifications which they raised earlier,” state director of mines D.K. Mohanty told IANS.
Mohanty said the state government had submitted its recommendation for grant of prospecting licence for Khandadhar iron ore mines in the district of Sundergarh to Posco.
It had sent the proposal for the mining area comprising of both notified and non-notified areas.
The central government has now asked if the state is willing to separate it because notified area consideration parameters are different, he said.
The state had recommended 2,500 hectare area in favour of the company out of which around 500 hectares belonged to non-notified areas. Non-notified area is an area which is not recognised as a mineral bearing site by the state government.
“The same points they had already raised earlier. We had said the matter has already been decided in the supreme court that the entire proposal has to be considered… accordingly we had sent,” Mohanty said.
“Our stand is to consider both the things combinedly. If they insist, then obviously we will have to send separate recommendations for notified and non-notified areas,” he added.
Mohanty, however, did not give any specific deadline for the government to send the proposal separately. “It may take a little time. I cannot say,” he said.
The state government had recommended to the central government a number of times for grant of prospecting licence for Khandadhar mines in favour of Posco. The mines will supply raw materials to the $12-billion steel plant Posco is planning to build in the state’s Jagatsinghpur district.
This is the third time that the central government has asked the state to clarify on the issue.
Meanwhile, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick told IANS: “As sought by the centre, we would demarcate the notified and non-notified areas in the proposed mines. If required, we would take steps to notify the non-notified areas for commercial operation of mines.”

Last modified: October 18, 2014