State-run SAIL is all set to get the long-disputed mining rights for half of the estimated two billion tonnes of high-grade iron ore reserves in Chiria region of Jharkhand.
“An understanding has been reached at the Jharkhand government’s level that about one billion tonnes of iron ore reserves would be given to SAIL subject to its expansion plans and CSR activities,” Steel Secretary P K Rastogi told PTI.
He added that the PSU would also be submitting its plans to claim right over the remaining reserves there.
Chiria mines have been at the centre of a controversy for four years over the ownership of the rich reserves of iron ore. The mines were originally allotted to Indian Iron & Steel Company which was later merged with SAIL in 2005. While SAIL claimed it inherited the mines, Jharkhand government disputed the ownership claims of SAIL.
The Jharkhand government terminated the lease of three mines allotted to SAIL and on three others the steel PSU got deemed extension.
Private steel majors like Tata Steel and JSW also wanted a pie of the Chiria mines.
SAIL wanted mining rights for Chiria mines to meet its iron ore requirement for 23 million tonne capacity, which is scheduled to go on stream by 2011-12.