Updated: November 18, 2009 16:08 IST

Centre in talks with Jharkhand, Orissa on ArcelorMittal, Posco projects

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A file picture of L N Mittal, Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal. Photo: Rajee Bhatt.
A file picture of L N Mittal, Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal. Photo: Rajee Bhatt.

Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday said the Centre is in talks with the Jharkhand and Orissa governments to facilitate the multi-billion dollar India projects of global steel giants ArcelorMittal and Posco.

“It (talking) is a continuous process aimed at expediting and facilitating the two projects. We are talking to resolve the issues like land acquisition, mining leases,” Mr. Singh told PTI after visiting the ‘Steel Pavilion’ at the India International Trade Fair here.

Asked if the government has set a time-frame for these projects to take off, he said, “These are greenfield projects.

They take more time than the brownfield projects as issues like land acquisition, evacuation, rehabilitation, mining leases exist. Currently, we wish to expedite it.”

Greenfield projects are the ones which are started from the scratch, while in case of brownfield, the company augments the capacity of the existing unit.

The projects of ArcelorMittal and Posco are facing the twin challenges of land acquisition and regulatory clearances.

The L N Mittal-led firm has threatened to quit the existing site between Gumla and Khunti districts of Jharkhand because of tribal protest and “regulatory hurdles.” It is facing similar problems in Keonjhar, Orissa.

Asked if ArcelorMittal has officially communicated to the steel ministry its interest to shift from the proposed sites, the minister said, “I have not received any communication from the company in this regard.”

The steel major has planned to set up two 12-MTPA steel mills, one each in Jharkhand and Orissa. The projects will attract an estimated investment of about Rs 1 lakh crore.

The ventures require about 10,000 acres of land in Jharkhand and about 8,000 acres in Orissa.

It has been allocated Karampada mines in Jharkhand with estimated reserves of 65 million tonnes of iron ore. The company needs about 600 million tonnes of iron ore to feed its steel plant in the state. The company is still awaiting iron ore mining leases in Orissa.

South Korean steel giant Posco, which had earlier this year said that it may slightly alter the site of its proposed Rs 54,000 crore steel plant near Paradeep on account of similar problems, needs about 4,000 acres of land for the project.

It is awaiting mining leases in Orissa for the venture, which had received approval from the Supreme Court green bench last year.

The Orissa government is “actively working” to remove hurdles coming in the way of Posco’s proposed plant so that the company can have the groundbreaking ceremony by January-end next year, a government official had said.

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