Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kolkata, Feb 5:
Union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today threw cold water on South Korean steel major Posco’s hopes of getting the Khandadhar iron ore mines on lease for its $12 billion steel project in Odisha’ s Jagatsinghpur district near the port city of Paradip.
Tomar said Posco will have to bid in the upcoming auction to get an iron ore mine for its $12 billion steel project in Odisha.
Asked about the fate of the Khandadhar iron ore mines promised to Posco by the state government on the dispensation route on the sidelines of an event here, Tomar told reporters that all firms will have to participate in the auction process to get a mining lease.
Putting to rest Odisha’s demand that commitments should be honoured under the new dispensation to avoid sending a wrong signal to international investor community by completely ignoring such commitments, the Steel and Mines Minister said “Even I will have to bid to get a mining lease”.
Odisha government had promised to allot the Khandadhar iron ore mines to South Korean steel major Posco for its mega steel plant, but the actual allocation never happened due to litigation by other claimants and delays in regulatory approvals.
With the Centre opting for the auction route for allocation of all minerals, the South Korean company will no longer be able to have the first right over the mine and shall have to bid for it.