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Odisha Steel Capacity Up

Bhubaneswar: With the continuous effort made by the State Government, the steel production capacity of Odisha has been enhanced from about 4 MTPA to 33 MTPA in the past 22 years.

Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik said this while addressing at the Minerals, Mining and Metals Conclave being organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Friday. 

From an installed capacity of about 4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of crude steel in the year 1999-2000, the State has progressed to have, as of now, 47 steel industries with total capacity of over 33 MTPA which is about one fourth of the country’s total installed capacity, Mallik said.

Besides, he said, the pellet plants in the state have an installed capacity of about 29 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) and the sponge iron plants have an installed capacity of around 15 million tonnes.

In fact, 12 MTPA mega greenfield Steel project together with 32 MTPA pellet plant proposed by JSW has been given in-principle approval. In addition, Tata Steel Kalinganagar, Duburi is going for capacity enhancement in 2nd phase of their expansion from the present level of 3 MTPA to 8 MTPA and Rourkela Steel Plant is also likely to go for capacity expansion from present level of 4.5 MTPA to 7.5 MTPA and projected 10 MTPA by 2030-31, pointed out the Minister.

Odisha accounts for the country’s 92% Chromite, 92% Nickel, 52% Bauxite, 24% Coal and 33% Iron ore and 35% Manganese reserves. During 2020-21, the total production of minerals was to the tune of 293.648 million tonnes with despatch of 325.495 million tonnes, which has increased to 362.40 million tonnes and 358.88 million tonnes respectively during 2021-22.

During the current year, the total production and despatch of minerals up to January 17, 2023 stand at 302.06 million tonnes and 295.07 million tonnes respectively, he said.

Informing about the steps taken by the State government, he said the state has ensured a timely and effective implementation of the amended provisions of law and as has been presented, Odisha has become the leading State in successfully conducting auction of the 37 mineral blocks so far including 22 expired mining leases.

Steps are also being taken for intensifying the mineral exploration in the State so that more and more mineral blocks can be brought to readiness for auction, Shri Mallik said.

All the above initiatives of successful auction of mineral blocks and timely operationalisation of the said mining leases have resulted in constant growth of mining revenue for the State.

As against Rs.11,020 crores and Rs.13,791 crores of mining revenue during 2019-20 and 2020-21, the State has been able to collect Rs.49,858 crores of mining revenue during 2021-22. The collection of mining revenue during the current year 2022-23 up to 17th January’2023 stands at Rs.28973.43 crores, he informed.

As such the State of Odisha is now one of the leading States in the country to have conducted successful auction of mineral blocks and operationalisation of the same, for which the State of Odisha received the Rashtriya Khanij Vikas Puraskar first prize for the best performing State in taking initiatives in exploration, auction and operationalisation of mines. It carries Rs.3 crore prize money.

“Our State has implemented an effective online system named Integrated Mineral & Mines Management System (i3MS) since 2011-12 for tracking end to end transaction of minerals, i.e. from extraction in the mines to transportation and consumption at the end-use units,” the Minister pointed out.

This has facilitated an effective and transparent mineral administration in the State. Now, there is no scope to extract minerals beyond the approved limit of production under different statutory clearances, he added.

“No mineral transportation can be undertaken without a permit duly issued online by the competent authority. The mineral carriers have also been registered under i3MS with provision of GPS tracking system. This robust online system has helped in detecting unlawful mineral extraction or transportation, if any, thereby plugging the leakage of mining revenue in the State. This has led to a constant growth of mining revenue of the State over the years,” said the Minister.

In regards to the minor mineral sector, he said, the State is also taking adequate steps for identification of new minor mineral sources and bringing them to the process of operation. The revenue from the minor mineral resources stood at Rs 680 crores in the previous financial year.

Further, strengthening of mineral exploration, mineral resource mapping, establishment of a core library, upgradation of i3MS etc. are various initiatives taken up under the 5T strategy adopted by the State.   

Shri Mallik said one of the major challenges for the mineral industries of the country is to properly utilise lower grade minerals which are never put to use because we do not have a requisite technology to use. “By utilising these lower grade minerals, we can protect the environment and prevent misutilisation and non-use of these minerals,” he stated.   

In many advanced countries, they use the technology in the downstream industries thereby utilising the resources properly and effectively.

Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India in his address mentioned that Odisha is a good example of cooperative federalism structure and mining led growth.

Only 7 to 8 years ago, the state used to get approximately 5000 crore revenue from the mining sector but last year it became 50,000 crore which in return led to quality education, healthcare and better infrastructure, Bharadwaj said.

The Central Government via GSI publishes geological reports which is the first step in mineral extraction. The Central Government prepares the legal framework, but the auction is done by the State Government Revenue, DMF, royalty goes to the State Government.

“So, both the Central and State Governments work together and thus the mining and mineral sector is a good example of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas,” added the Mines Secretary. 

The National Geoscience Data Repository System is being created which will enable seamless understanding of the data, appreciation of what lies where, how much should one bid and then linking it to the auction process.

“We need to encourage the private sector in exploration. 13 private sector exploration agencies have already been approved, they have taken up projects, and we believe that within this year, we will be able to sanction projects where private exploration agencies shall do the work and the State Governments can also engage these agencies if their own exploration companies are constrained in any way,” he said. 

 The Union Secretary informed that 160 fresh mineral blocks have been put up for auction this year, so there has been a tremendous increase in the auctioning process.