Odisha opens new steel directorate to optimise resources, boost output

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To best utilise iron ore resources, zero waste mining, value addition, and strengthening mineral economy, the Odisha government has opened a new directorate of steel.

“The very purpose of setting up a Directorate for Steel is the manifestation of our intention to make best utilisation of our iron ore resources in terms of optimised use of resources, zero waste mining, value addition and strengthening of mineral economy,” Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick said after inauguration of the directorate.

The minister also said the move will ensure employment generation in the state.

Stating that Odisha is endowed with vast resources of iron ore, he said hematite iron ore resources in the state is about 5,716 million tonnes, which makes up a lion’s share of the country’s total resources at about 27%.

Not only iron ore, Odisha has adequate deposits of other raw materials required for production of steel which has attracted big investors to the region, the minister pointed out.

The minister, however, said although more than 30 steel plants are in various stages of commissioning in the state, a number of greenfield and brownfield projects are facing problems which need to be addressed via the new directorate.

Noting that there is stiff competition in steel sector all over the world, Mallick said the post-recession scenario warrants implementation of new policies and mechanism for survival and progress of indigenous industries.

“We have already brought out a new Mineral Exploration Policy to streamline the exploration sector. The Government of India has also published a National Mineral Exploration Policy during the last week of June. Prior to that it has carried out amendments in the MMDR Act, 1957 facilitating the auction mode of leasing out mineral deposits,” the minister said.

In the changed scenario, the state has to prepare

itself and update ways and means to get desired results, the minister said adding that Odisha has been the first state in the country to auction an iron ore mineral block which was successfully concluded in March, 2016 with one of the integrated steel plants of the country emerging as the preferred bidder.

“Subsequently, we are also preparing more than 10 iron ore blocks to be put to auction during 2016-17 and 2017-18, which will adequately cater to the raw material requirement of the steel industries in the country as a whole,” he said.

The Minister said the state has been pursuing a vision of creating a congenial business climate to attract investment in mineral-based industry and infrastructure projects, thereby raising raising income, employment and economic growth.

“We must ensure all activities to take place in environment-friendly manner with due attention to environment management,” he said, adding that the new directorate will exclusively look after issues surrounding this sector.

The Directorate of Steel will be instrumental in realising all aspirations relating to the systematic development of iron ore and steel sector in the state, he said, adding that it will also facilitate quick and effective solutions for the investors.

Special Secretary, Steel & Mines, P K Mishra has been appointed as the Director of the Directorate of Steel.