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POSCO top officials meet PM, discuss Odisha project

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Jan 20:

Worried over possible delay in getting mines to feed its initial 8 MTPA plant in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district following the promulgation of the Mines Ordinance, South Korean steel company POSCO’s CEO Kwon Oh-Joon today called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

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Sources said the POSCO top brass met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed new investment plans in Gujarat and Maharashtra besides its $12 billion Odisha project, which has been delayed for nearly a decade.

POSCO India CMD Gee Woong Sung and Korean Ambassador Joon-Gyu Lee also met the prime minister.

Assuring the steel giant of allocating a mine to meet its raw material requirement, the Odisha government has sent a proposal seeking the Centre’s approval for grant of prospecting licence to POSCO for iron ore over a notified area of 2082.50 hectares in the Khandadhar area in Sundargarh district.

However, the Mines ordinance, promulgated recently provides for allocation of all mines through the auction route.

After the state mines ministers’ meeting on Mines Ordinance here on Monday, the Odisha steel and mines minister Prafulla Mallick had said, “These commitments should be honoured under the new dispensation. Posco was the largest proposed FDI project in the country for which the Government of India has made an international commitment.  The nation will be sending a very wrong signal to the international investor community by completely ignoring these international commitments for supporting the raw material requirement of the project.”

However, Union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said after the passing of the Ordinance, all mines would be allocated through auction route only and there would not be any allocation through the dispensation route.