Monnet Ispat and Energy on Thursday said it expects to begin production by March, 2013 from Utkal B2 coal block in Odisha, which is under the scanner of an inter-ministerial (IMG) group reviewing the status of coal block allocations.
“We have estimated it (production from the Utkal B2 coal block) to be around March, 2013,” Monnet Ispat’s Chairman and Managing Director Sandeep Jajodia told reporters after presenting company’s views to the IMG.
Monnet is one of the 10 firms that were supposed to present their viewpoints to the IMG today on delay in production from their allocated coal blocks. IMG has to submit its report for de-allocation of blocks and encashing bank guarantees of the captive mine owners by September 15.
Between 1999 and 2009, Monnet was allocated 5 captive mines. Of this, IMG had issued notice to the company for Utkal B2 block that was allocated on August 16, 1999 with an extractable reserves of 77 MT but it yet to begin production.
Advocating that Monnet should be allowed to retain the block, Jajodia said that his company is a serious firm in the domestic steel market and has invested Rs 5,000 crore to put up a 1.5 million tonnes (MT) plant in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh.
“We should retain the coal block because we are one of the very serious players of the industry and we have exhibited that by executing large projects. We did (execute) 1.5 MT steel mill at Rs 5,000 crore expenditure,” he said.
He further said, “I don’t know what the committee will take the decision... I believe that we have given good presentation and justified the reasons for delay. I am sure the Ministry of Coal and others know that Monnet Ispat is a very serious player in the industry and very credible company.”
When asked about the reasons for delay in beginning production from the block, he said “It is a combination of various things ... land acquisition, forest clearance, environment clearance, rehabilitation. This is normal, the same thing is applicable to every coal block and every mining project. It is a very very tedious process.”
He also said that Monnet is “ready” with its 1.5 MT steel mill in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.
The Monnet Ispat chairman further said that “we will still have to continue to buy coal from the market even if we start our mining (from Utkal B2 block).
Besides Utkal B2, the four other non-producing coal mines are Mandakini in Odisha, Gare-Palma IV/5 and Rajgamar in Chhattisgarh and Urtan North in Madhya Pradesh.