Ahead of the renewal of its MoU with the Orissa government for the 12-MTPA greenfield steel plant in Orissa, Posco-India has sought certain modifications.

“Posco-India has accepted some of the suggestions made by the State government, but it wants certain modifications,” Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty told reporters.

Though the MoU with the South Korean steel major lapsed on June 21, 2010, it was yet to be renewed because of certain reasons including the iron ore swapping clause. Sources in the know said that Posco-India was not ready to accept the State government’s proposal to exclude the swapping of iron ore clause in the original MoU.

Under the lapsed Mou, iron ore high in alumina content not exceeding 30 per cent of the total annual requirement for the Paradip plant could be swapped with equal quantity of low alumina content iron ore or with better content imported for blending to produce better quality steel and conserve energy.

The provision of swapping of iron ore in the MoU had been opposed by many, including Jairam Ramesh, when he was the Environment Minister. While according final forest clearance to the Posco project on May 2, Mr. Ramesh had said: “The MoU had provision for export of iron ore, which made me deeply uncomfortable with this project.

I would expect that the revised MoU between the State and Posco would be negotiated in such a manner that exports of raw material are completely avoided. The government was examining Posco India’s application for modification and certain in-principle decision would be taken,” the Minister said.

“We have almost finalised the draft of the MoU through consultation with Posco-India. Have patience, we will renew the MoU with Posco soon,” Chief Secretary B.K. Patnaik said.