Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has approached the Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group (PMG) to fast-track clearances for stalled mining and capacity expansion projects in Jharkhand and other related infrastructure proposals.

SAIL has outlined an investment of Rs. 10,000 crore for capacity expansion of its captive mines operations. The Gua mines are expected to cater to 25 per cent of SAIL’s iron ore needs in the future. The decision on the project has been delayed due to a bio-diversity plan for the Saranda forest zone, which is currently under preparation.

Asserting that mining operations at Gua iron ore mines were central to the expansion plans of SAIL to increase its hot metal capacity, SAIL has approached the Cabinet Secretariat, the nodal office of PMG, to seek stage II forest clearance. “We have approached the PMG and are hopeful that a decision on our request would be taken soon,” SAIL Chairman C.S. Verma said.

SAIL plans to ramp up the capacity of the Gua mines to 10 MTPA from 2.4 MTPA at an investment of about Rs. 3,000 crore.

The plan includes setting up a 12.5 MTPA beneficiation plant and a 4 MTPA pellet plant.

Stage-I, or in-principle forest clearance, has been given to three of the four leases—Durgaiburu, Jhillingburu-II and Topailore-while Jhillingburu-I is closed and its application has been pending with the MoEF since July 2011.

Environment approval has been granted for the Durgaiburu lease and the planned beneficiation and pellet plants. In April 2013, SAIL secured consent to operate from the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board for mining at the Gua mines, which paved the way for resuming mining activities there almost after two years. The 4 MTPA iron ore pellet plant, proposed to be set up in the Gua mines, will be SAIL's first captive pellet plant.

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