Bhubaneswar, May 24:

The Odisha government would auction seven of its mines by August this year, said Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick on Tuesday.

minesThe seven mines include iron ore, manganese and a bauxite mine in Koraput district.

“We are in the process of auctioning seven more mines by July-August this year. Among the mines, a bauxite mine would be auctioned in Koraput district,” said the minister.

Vedanta is likely to participate in the bidding process when the bauxite mine goes under the hammer to feed its one-million-tonne refinery plant located at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.

Notably, Vedanta’s refinery and smelter plants are running at 50 percent capacity due to lack of raw material, said sources.

Essar Steel bagged the first iron ore block offered for e-auction in March this year, upstaging strong contenders like Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) and JSW Steel.

Mallick also said that he would participate in the mining ministers’ meeting to be held at Jaipur, Rajasthan on May 27.

He said the state government would raise several issues, including the process for granting environment and forest clearances to mines in the state.

The mines ministers will discuss the auction process, setting up of District Mineral Foundation (DMF), minor mineral rules and curbing illegal mining and enhanced penal provisions, said sources.

Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have put up six major mineral blocks on e-auction.

The identification of major mineral blocks and their auction preparedness will be discussed in the meeting, said the agenda.

The status of collection of the money accrued in the DMF funds by the state government and its utilisation would also be discussed, it added. (IANS)